The night before Halloween, my husband and a friend traveled south, went to a concert, and upon heading back north the car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Six hours and a $600 tow later (middle of the night Sunday), they were home safely and I was entirely wrung out like a flannel.
Worse than the hardship was my anger. The car hasn’t been right; it’s not reliable. That morning I’d asked, “Do you think it’s a good idea to go down there tonight?” He did. He was wrong.
It sucks. It doesn’t bear dwelling on. My mortgage payment is gone. For now. I’ll figure something out. Or something will come. I have come to rely on this.
Halloween itself, then, commenced a little off-kilter. Ralph slept during the day a bit. In the later part of the day I was up and roasting tomatoes and de-hulling chickpeas for a small gathering at our house. Despite a tightness in my chest, and a headache in my temples, the day soon began to ease for me. My son’s friend A. came in, intrigued by my cooking, by my costume. I asked for him to put out our luminaries, a series of jars festooned in colored tissue paper decoupage. More willing than my own children to help, his eager-to-please sweetness gave me something to focus on. His presence soothed my spirit.
Ralph came back home as I finished the bisque, and set out little pickles and olives and the like. We grabbed a few photos in the gloaming, a misty rain baptizing us. Autumn has always been a very special time of year for me, and no less so this year. There is an intimacy between the children and I that I have come to find so incredibly comforting.
As darkness fell Ralph and our friends, and all the children, went off through the neighborhood and as is my custom, I manned the door. Children knocked and I greeted them, a huge bowl of candy in my arms. “A queen!” a young boy beamed, delighted by my golden crown.
Next year we’ll need a well-lit walkway; I fear it was too dark for some of the Trick or Treat’ers to brave.
This year, I am happy to have spent it in festivities with my loved ones.