It’s the night before. You have postponed the sewing. The craziness of the day that should not be more than a day is consuming… Halloween, tomorrow. Costumes, masks, too much of this and that, stores engorged with hats and lace and inadequacy. Sigh. Tomorrow night will be owned by ghouls and shredded tempers and you can’t settle for it. Shudder. But the boys, they want the sweetness of it. Is there any?…
Time to sew. Tomorrow the costume parade and Halloween wickedness will unfold.
“Do you like Halloween, mama?” Not really. But I like it for you, if you like it. “We do, the costumes, but no creepy faces.” Costumes it is.
Let’s sit on the sofa; needle and thread, fringe waiting. Little boy reads from a book with little boys and big canoes and bears piling up in the canoe, eating the fish, splashing the boy, what silly-mannered furry sacks. Little boy reads, you sew fringe on the cowboy costume; one leg, then the other. Small pants still, knees left on hills of sun and rocks that had to be observed from up close, left on grass during tumbles with big boy. Pants with knees have no stories.
“Mama, they need to be dirty, can you?” You go outside, rub dirt from under the mint shrub, make them look tired and rugged. Small pants, fringe on both legs. The tips of your fingers sting from the stubborn needle you had to push in.
Little boys reads “Spooky Old Tree” and laughs.
“Three little bears…
without a light,
without a stick,
without a rope.
And all with the shivers!”
Big boy comes by. Trying the coat on; a stitch here, one there, tuck the sleeves in, don’t cover the metal buttons, they should stay like that. How about coat tails? “Can you, mama?”
Big boy sinks in the orange blanket, pumpkin-colored sofa. Can I sit with you? Chat, read, wonder…
“Is my gentleman suit ready? Can I try it on? Oh, it’s perfect!” Big boy, dark brown eyes and a smile reaching straight into your heart. Gratefulness, thoughts of goodness. You bask in it. Boy rhymes with joy and it’s a poem you’ve been writing for years, every day. Today it rhymes. No tears.
Little boy makes little friendly ghosts to hang around the house, and bats that are friendly, and silly pumpkins. “Wanna color with me?” Big boy shrugs; no. Mama says yes, don’t grow up too fast, your brother is holding the door open for you. Stay a kid, go color, cut, stick to the wall. He does.
Night tumbles into the room, draws yawns and hangs sleepy thoughts on tomorrow’s trees. Time for bed, silly boys. Costumes sit in piles on the orange blanket. Fringes, coats, tall hats and polished boots.
“Not mine, I am a cowboy. They have to be rugged.” The boots, of course.
The kitchen smells of cookies, the crumbliest of all, soft and chewy, sweet-steamed dollops that fall apart when you hold them up. The boys want them so. Handfuls of crumbles, milk dripping on the table, that’s all there is to it. Sweet crumbles.
Halloween is still not your favorite. But the boys love dressing up, friendly little ghosts twirl with the lightest of touch and you think of the little hands that made them. They wanted to make peace with the spookiness of tomorrow. To make it right.
On the porch there is a jack-o-lantern with thick orange cheeks and a wiggly tooth. Smiling.
“Do you like it, mama?”
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