Vanity is the time I spent Hallow'een with my best friend Vivian at a house on Summer Street. It was late October and very very cold and I can't remember my costume, only glass after glass of Black Russians, wondering vaguely if I'd throw my sugar off with all that Kahlua. Not wondering, really, if it was a good idea to drink so many of them considering all the mushrooms we'd taken. I wouldn't do it now, but I did then 'cause I was 15 and would do everything on a dare. Brave and desperately stupid and beautiful, if slightly off balance, in that wind.
And Vivian and I went for cigarettes. I'd taken some girl's jacket even though by that time the party had turned to early morning and Summer Street felt warm to me. I dragged the jacket behind me feeling very Valley of the Dolls, my taste in literature as bad as my taste in drinks
and everything was so beautiful there in that hot wind on Summer Street.
Me too. I imagined I had violet eyes, so I threw myself theatrically to the bed the sands, the water. Threw myself arms back, neck arched into the wind only forgot it was only the ground 'till it hit me and my teeth shattered onto the pavement.
And that wind was so cold against the nerves I stopped breathing but remembered, from somewhere outside of myself, that if you lose a digit, a finger, say in a lawnmower you should find it and keep it cold ’cause they can reattach it at emergency.
So I dropped to my knees and found teeth everywhere and at her feet I remembered Vivian who opened my fist and held my hair and said “let's look” and when we did my fist was full of gravel and awful magic had happened so there would be nothing to re-attach.
Vivian says “shhh it'll be ok, it's not that bad, here, open, let me see” and I couldn't even if I wanted to because of the cold and those open nerves but, really, I don't show her because I'm seeing myself in the future. My grandmother is saying “she used to have lovely teeth”
and in the future I work at some job where you don't need teeth and have friends who don't care if their friends have teeth. I think hard about what job this would be and what kind of friends I have only my thoughts are still sticky -- it's the blood in my mouth maybe -- only I'm certain that girl wouldn't have lent me her new leather jacket
and I turn to Vivian and whisper “listen I have a secret. Don't tell, but I'm very very vain.”