Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fence post fire

It was Halloween last night. I sat out on a lawn chair in my front yard next to a big stinky fire I built in a fire bowl. John brought over a bunch of wood scraps from a job he did, we got the fire big and hot. Debbie and her sister dragged over canvas chairs and shared the fire as did a bunch of straggling parents with sugar high kids. Our front lawn was soon covered with little kids in costumes that were starting to fall apart and shiny candy wrappers blowing on the smoky breeze.

We talked about the earthquake we just had and how we were all shaken and jolted. We talked about old earthquakes and predicted earthquakes. We wondered how we were going to get our kids up for school and why November first wasn't always some kind of day-off. I figure the sugar hang-0ver isn't pretty you would think that the teachers would go on strike that day. I know what my day would be like with a child crabby kid itching like a junky for another piece of candy, can't imagine what it would be like locked in a room all day with twenty of them. God bless teachers.

It took a little longer to get dark this year with daylight savings time being pushed back. For the first time Noah had enough time to eat dinner and carve his pumpkin so that was a treat. He and Nicholas were out the door the very second the sky changed color. Steve and John took them out until the candy bags were too heavy for the kids to carry. Gluttons.

I tried not to cry, tried my best not to be a drag. A little Baily's and hot chocolate goes a long way on a dark night full of ghosts and goblins. Halloween was never one of Stevie's most favorites. She liked it well enough as a little kid but later on she sorta blew it off. It wasn't nostalgia as much as time being marked.

Time...I just can't get over it. You can't touch it or taste it, it is a memory, a wish or a dread. Time seems to goes fastest when you are most happy and creeps when you are waiting for something great to happen. It seems so drag slowest when you are saddest.

I remember Aly at two. Her head full of springy curls, her eyes big and brown. I dressed her in a white leotard and sequins tu-tu. She had silver and white wire wings, and a ribboned magic wand that she had no interest in. We were about to leave for a party when she decided to go out front and sit in a mud puddle and fill her pumpkin up with rocks and leaves. I was so pissed. I yelled at her. I took her in and washed her costume. I can't believe it, it was just mud. If it happened today I would have taken her to the party muddy, I would think it was appropriate, a play on the idea of angelic. What was I thinking back then? I had no idea that one day I would give a leg to be there in that moment again, maybe I would sit down right next to her and get muddy too, forget the party and cheap plastic pumpkin.

I remember the year I borrowed a sewing machine and spent a week making a Snow White dress for Aly. She wanted to be Snow White and the seven dwarbs and Anthony could be the handsome prince and Stevie could be a mouse. I made it happen with the help of cardboard, fabric, glue, glitter and many nights yelling at an old sewing machine. I sat on the kitchen floor cutting patterns from brown paper grocery bags and measuring the kids with a little fabric tape measure. They giggled and wiggled and Stevie ate the better half of a tube of gold glitter.

Stevie was still crawling around and looked adorable as a grey mouse with giant ears. Aly held on tight to her prince who hobbled around on a broken foot in a blue cast. Those were the days when they had no idea that you could trick-or-treat farther than your own block.

One year I made Noah an oompa-loompa. I soaked white felt pants in starch so they would stick out to the sides nice and pointy. He hated the green wig but loved the attention. Aly was a sexy blue fairy that year She was a teenager and was looking for a different kind of attention. I spent two weeks creating the most perfect Tinkerbell costume for Stevie. She had finished treatment and was painfully thin and pale. She wore a super blond wig cut in a pixie bob. I hand beaded a snug green dress with a leafy hem. I can't even remember how I managed the huge iridescent wings but I do remember sewing her slippers. She was so happy with that costume. The look on her face when she tried it on melted my heart. She felt beautiful, and looked like magic.


This Halloween I was void of that kind of creativity. The costume was a chore. The candy was just candy and I didn't carve a pumpkin. Instead I got tipsy, passed out generous amounts of treats and willed the night to pass.

Last night she came to me in my dreams. We were living someplace else and she had come home after being someplace I don't know. She was still sick but getting better. She could climb the stairs of this new house. I could hear her voice and we talked. The dream is fading from me fast, I wish I would have written it down when I woke up. I feel very happy to have had a little bit of time with her, even if it was strange and I can barely recall it.

It is still dark outside, the garbage truck just made his noisy pass by our house. It is quiet here now. I am sitting on Stevie's bed in her room, her sweet face staring at me from a photo I took of her last October. She is wearing a teal t-shirt and her room is still pink. She isn't smiling she is just looking at me it is an intense picture. The camera was new, she bought it herself with money she saved. It was a complex little thing and we were playing with it while trying to read the directions that came in four different languages none of them an English we could understand.

Her hair is shiny and long. It is deep auburn, the highlights so coppery. her eyes are Stevie blue, he only way to describe them. She got compliments on them where ever we went. Her lips are full and pink and her skin creamy and flawless. She was perfect. she is perfect. I wish I could crawl into that frame and kiss those cheeks, put that hair up in a high pony tail talk to her about anything.

When I was younger I use to think David Cassidy and Donny Osmond could see me. I had these huge posters in my room that I couldn't get undressed in front of. I wish my imagination was as silly now and I could believe that a tiny bit of her is stored in this photo and it was some portal for us, that if I spoke to it, she would speak back. Maybe that imagination is still intact.

It is time to get Noah up and ready for school, time for a new day to start, time, time, time.

Another Holiday without her. I got through it, but it didn't seem fair that I had to. I want her here with me like before. I want it to be her in this bed, the room littered with her clothes and books. I want her to sleep in late and hog all the hot water with her morning shower. I want to have lunch with her at the sushi place, drink Javatea, make plans and lists for Thanksgiving. I loved it when she made shopping lists while I drove. I loved to look her in the seat next to me deep in thought, sipping coffee, listening to some boy sing about things girls love to hear boys sing about.

This is the first year we won't be raiding the best candy out of Noah's bag. This is the first year we won't sit around with really good costume ideas for next year that we will forget by the time October rolls around again. This is my first year without her.

Happy Halloween sweet-potato, thank you for visiting me last night.


1 comment:

turquoise cro said...

Thank YOU! for blessing teachers Gina! My Gina is a teacher! I'm SoOOOOOOooO GLAD Stevie came to YOU in your dreams! Tinkerbell, YOU'll have to show me that pic!!! What did Noah finally settle on??Can we remember this day I got that LOVELY EXQUISITE Quilt from YOU?! I LOVE it! It's hanging right above me like an angel as I type! I'll think of YOU, Steve, Aly and Noah and your angel, Stevie everytime I LOOK at it and I will whisper a prayer for YOU!all,xo, Sweet Dreams sweetie, Cinda