Vennie is currently writing RISE OF SILA, the sequel to CULT CHILD
I find my lack of knowledge about current trends to be a constant slap in my face. I don’t know which magazines are popular or what kind of makeup is cool. I do a lot of listening, soaking in and learning while quietly observing. One day I open my big mouth, and re-affirm my fool status, when before Reading class, which is full of kids I don’t like anyway, snotty, stuck up kids who never wear the same thing twice, I decide to brave the quicksand of infusing myself into a conversation.
Steve Burber is talking about John Cougar Mellancamp. I don’t know what kind of cougar that is, but I do know animals. Wanting desperately to be included in the conversation, I blurt a fact that comes from nowhere in my head.
“Those only live in hot areas.” I say suddenly.
Steve turns as soon as I speak.
“What do?” He asks, half smirking at me.
“Those types of cougars.” I reply.
“What are you even talking about? Do you not know who John Cougar Mellancamp is?” Steve starts laughing along with the other kids who are all now listening to our conversation.
My face is turning red. I want to crawl beneath the desk and never come out.
“Yeah, I do.” I mumble. “I thought you were talking about something else.”
I try and smooth it over. Steve shakes his head.
“Yeah, whatever, blondie.” He says.
Class begins, and I vow to keep my damn mouth shut from now on. On one of my visits to Sandi’s house, which I have taken to walking down the road to sometimes, she plays John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good” and “Jack and Diane”, both which make me feel uncomfortable because of their sexual content. But I like their beat, and I can’t stop listening.
My mind is in a war between the echoing sounds of the sin of this world I have been thrust into. This adjustment from life on the farm, where everything was slow and controlled, someone always watching, and sneaking off to be alone so no one could watch us, to this new space of freedom, has my insides heaving every which way.
There is so much to learn, so much culture to catch up with, and I despise the constant hiding of my life before arriving to this town. But, I am learning quickly. I am feeling everything and nothing, all at the same time. I have lumps in my throat sometimes at night, but I fall asleep silent, not wanting Leis to hear me cry. I don’t know why I feel sad. I miss Laurie more than anything. My best friend, far away in Alaska, in the quiet of the woods, she would understand me. I could tell her anything.