it didn't do any good to just put on a plastic mask. all the kids at school knew who i was immediately because of my hair. and wasn't that the point of wearing your costume to school? to fool your classmates?
so one year my mother got the brilliant idea of encasing my entire head in orange crepe paper. she gathered it at the neck, and at the top, and voila! a walking pumpkin! a simple sheet concealed everything else from the neck on down. i was thrilled. nobody will know it's me! i figured, and i trudged off to school quite happily.
the costume, i quickly learned, had one serious drawback: i couldn't eat. there were little eyeholes, and a slit for the mouth, but i couldn't really partake in the third-grade halloween party food because i couldn't remove my head. i didn't want to rip the fragile crepe paper--there was still trick-or-treating to do that night, after all.
so i just lined up the sugary treats on my desk and guarded them jealously.
there was a boy in my class named Ian. i did not like Ian, mainly because Ian so clearly liked me. this made me nervous. for cripe's sake, i was only 8. i didn't like boys and i was pretty sure i never would. especially ian. ian was from canada. he always wore a tie, and gray flannel pants. nobody wore a tie to Endion Elementary. i thought he was weird.
but with my pumpkin head rendering me incognito, i relaxed, just for one day. i let my guard down. i laughed and chatted with him during the class party because, after all, there was no way he could know who i was, right? we ended up playing tick-tack-toe and having a great time.
this did not mean that i liked him.
that night, he showed up at my house. he had known the pumpkin head was me all along, of course. maybe by my shoes. maybe by my voice. maybe by the fact that i was sitting in my own desk. clearly those canadians have superior powers of observation.
at any rate, here he was at the front door of my house, politely asking my mother if i could go trick-or-treating with him.
i grabbed my mother by the hem of her apron and dragged her into the closet. NO NO NO NO NO NO i hissed.
"of course," my mother said. she said he seemed like a nice boy. she said he went to a lot of trouble to find our house and come over and politely ask, and yes i had to go with him. it was the polite thing to do.
and then she sent my brother david along, as chaperone.
i was sullen. i was reluctant. i was rude. i slunk down the stairs toward him in my stupid pumpkin head. i deliberately lagged behind, just to show him how uninterested i was.
so david and ian walked on ahead and left me behind.
they hit it off famously. david, even though he was a big boy, two years older, was curious and engaging. he and ian struck up a conversation and i was left to trail after them for the rest of the evening. nobody noticed my sullenness. nobody noticed that hey, i'm not having a good time here! i'm not even sure they remembered i was back there.
by the time the evening was over i was wishing desperately that ian would notice me again, but by then it was way too little, and way, way too late.
The Skye Beast has arrived!!! :)
1 hour ago