posted on Oct, 16 2006 @ 08:06 PM
I've decided not to go too graphic, but please be warned that even still this is NOT a children's halloween story. If you're easily
disturbed by... somewhat disgusting thought processes, this might not be for you.
The problem with holidays is that they are generally based on a lie: a false benefactor. Sooner or later, usually in 3rd or 4th grade, you realize the
betrayal and some of the magic dies. There is no Santa. That’s why I like Halloween. There isn’t a Satan either, not incarnate, but his spirit is
definitely in the air, a smoky wisp of something you can’t quite put your finger on connecting everything in the daily paper and everything in your
daily life. His existence mirrors his relationship to his day. You can’t go sit on his lap in the mall. You may not ever hear his name mentioned.
He’s in the aether, behind the scenes, holding it all together so that his day goes just right, without ever seeking credit for it. The children
will be scared. Some will get beaten up and have their candy stolen. Teenagers will rape their dates. Satan won’t do all of the work though.
Halloween is a gift you must give to yourself.
I’d always made it a point to give myself a Halloween since I was 16. I didn’t get a Christmas the year before. Mom and Dad were too busy
fighting over community property and how much he should pay her for taking me off his hands for good. I was more ready for my 7th than I’d ever been
before. Time piles up. You never get used to it. Seven more Christmases in the shadows than when I had started. Seven more birthday twinkies with no
candles and no song. I’d made up my mind that July that it was time to leave, but I waited for Halloween. It always sounded nice when people said of
the latest famous corpse, “at least he died doing what he loved”.
I waited at home, watching the last of the sunlight fade from between the vertical blinds, checking my watch exactly every five minutes, knowing full
well that it would be five minutes later than last time, counting the seconds to 10:00 P.M. Hunger pangs were already pulling the knot in my stomach
tighter, but I vowed not to eat before the observance. I’d eaten beforehand once, and it had ruined the entire night. The security of food deceives
the brain. The reptilian brain will tell you that everything is OK. It’s never heard of Maslow. It has no idea how empty you are. To the primitive
brain, being fed makes you full. I didn’t want Emily that night. I could barely perform, and then I didn’t want to end it. Yet another fine point
of Halloween. On Christ’s day you gorge yourself, cuddle your new possessions and lie. On Satan’s day you sit in the dark and embrace reality,
then tell the truth. Truth, certainty: death and taxes. But taxes are boring.
I glanced at my watch. I’d checked it last at 7:10. It was 7:15. I broke and forced my hand into the pocket of my jeans, quietly, desperately
fishing out my cigarettes. I only considered it a modest offense to self-denial. I lit one and pushed myself up not quite perfectly, knocking over the
top-heavy lawn chair which, along with a portable CD player and an 18” TV, constituted my living room furniture. I decided to go see Christina. I
usually saw her afterward, but there wouldn’t be an afterward this time. When we were face to face again we probably wouldn’t want to waste time
talking, but there were things to say. I owed her that much.
I tried to rehearse on the way to lake, but walking is difficult on Halloween. Right when the proper word was on the tip of my tongue, it was BOO
this or AVAST that. Pirates and monsters: nobody dresses up as the devil anymore. Kids these days.
I let myself around the chain barring the path to the lake, eager to finally have some quiet, even if it was really too late to rehearse everything.
I just tried to picture her. Beautiful Christina: the sweet little cheerleader you only see in Disney movies who can be beautiful without being sexy
and is better for it; The one who dumps the junior varsity halfback for beating you up and falls in love with you because you wrote her a poem, even
though it wasn’t very good and you were going way too fast to understand. I could still remember the glow of her blond hair in the dark cab of my
first truck, and the peaceful, patient face that waited for me to stop panicking and just kiss her. I wish I could read what had been in her mind in
that long moment. It seemed like every month one thing would lead to another: a first crush, first love, a first date, and a first kiss. Homecoming
came and I tried to dance for the first time. If I hadn’t been dancing with her, who knows what the cool kids would have said about it. That was the
night that changed everything. Her family was moving: First heartbreak.
I don’t ever want to forget you Toby… What came next was a first for both of us. And then Halloween. The first Halloween.
I’d found her tree: the unusually large evergreen set just a bit apart from all the others, closer to the lake than the rest dared. If she wasn’t
so close to the water, I imagined all of the other trees would crowd around her to see how much taller they had to grow to be like that.
I set my hand on the soft, damp soil just three feet from her evergreen and felt her stomach through the two or three feet of soil between us,
remembering that first warm rush of something that sex could only hint at flowing over my fingers as I leaned into her with the knife. The confusion
and surprise and the faint last gasp echoed upon all of my senses and at once I knew she was with me.
“Hi Christina…” I stalled, searching for what I wanted to tell her. She kept still beneath the mud, staring at me.
“I’m sorry I didn’t come see you on your birthday. It was hard. The worse it all gets, the more I miss you. I almost killed myself… actually
I’ve just been waiting… I am going to kill myself. I just, wanted to do it one last time first. But tonight is it, I swear. I’ll see you
tonight, right at midnight.”
She sobbed a little. I moved my other hand to her cheek, pushing my fingers into the cold ground as best I could to close the gap. I wished I had time
to dig her up. I hated it when I made her cry. I didn’t want to wait another four hours to hold her, but it was only eight.
“You know that I only think of you right? You know that it’s never the same as it was with you. That’s just the nature of what we have
together… you can only go through what we did once… and I keep needing it again. But its always you… I don’t visit the others, or care. I hope
you understand that. It’s just like I told you before your body was gone. This way we can’t ever be completely apart. Your mom and dad can’t
take you away because you’re just in my heart.”
I dug into my pocket for the picture.
“This one’s name is Chelsea. She looks a lot like you. She’s not sweet like you though. There’s something wrong with her. Somebody messed her
up, like me before you came along. There’s just not much there, so I think I’ll see you more than I ever did with the others.”
She just shook her head and mouthed something. I didn’t have to hear it. She thought I wanted to be with Chelsea because she was like me. I
shouldn’t have said it that way. But really she knew it wasn’t true. She knew I would do what I promised, and be right back. I took my hand from
her cheek and kissed her there. I didn’t wipe away the mud from my lips. I stood up and unfolded my knife, then checked my watch. It was 8:15. I
decided to pick up Chelsea early. Christina and I needed the extra time, to do it slower… to experience more together, so we’d know that much more
about each other when we met again. I slipped the knife back into my pocket and started back down the trail to town.