I wrote this many years ago late at night/early in the morning, deep in depression, lost and frustrated about what could make me happy. I don’t believe it was anytime around Halloween. Maybe it was a summer in between college semesters. I can’t remember.
I am fortunate. My family doesn’t agree with everything I’ve accomplished with my life but they have always found a way to love me.
It’s a hard thing to remember. To love. Sometimes we believe loving someone already bound to us by blood or years of friendship or romantic commitment is to remind them how they can be better, because our intentions are the best and we see so much “potential” in them. But sometimes, disregard that, all of the time, the best way to love someone is to love them. Believe in them. Reconcile. Let them learn. And if they don’t, they know who to come back to for that good advice, that love that will guide them. That gentle, “I told you so.” I’m half kidding. Just half. I’m still learning how to love too.
This is about my family.
I remember holding hands
and hating it. My mother would
point to the next house, and my older sister
would slide the van door, and we would dart out
like some vast battalion, shedding our shields,
hand at the helm of our swords, sometimes
literally, and we had already conquered our greatest fears,
the gauntlet had been vanquished, before our toes bent the blades
of evening dew, and our arms wide open
treasure bestowed upon the valiant, the courageous, the socially adept, and death defying, and we were good, she would say
to her friends later on the phone, opposed
to the advertised mischief, and we would pour out all our candy
on the table, she made us, and split it seven ways, even though it always
came out the same way it began, because
who holds prejudice toward seven kids in
family dollar facepaint? and we’d count it afterwards,
and wonder, “Why was this
only once a year?” we would murmur
through chocolate teeth or double bubble bubbles, candy corn fangs,
caramel smacks, stuck to the empty caps,
and the independent spaces wisdom and age had yet to fill.
It would never tire, we decided those nights.
candy for a king, candy for a queen. Anyone could live forever, like this. what Gods allowed only once a year for gluttony, should we
not enjoy everyday, bathe and baske in saccharine glory; did you know
if you cook sugar for long enough, it turns gold?
We’d sit on the back porch, the moon was
always nearly full, and discuss
our trite superstitions, and
future predictions, that i cannot
recall now, and make fun of
each other, in that
fashion, that never failed, and never
our hidden joys
of our household
company. and we’d be okay, we’d do well, if just
for a couple of days before it was back
to drawing turkeys, and homework
and awaiting the next
I remember once there were so many of us
walking up on to this tiny, concrete
front porch one Halloween, and my sister, Julie, was on the far left
side, she was one of the first to step up, and after the last
of us squeezed in for a treat, i can’t remember who now,
she fell off
the side into a bush, and we all laughed, but she cried
a little, and i felt bad, and
so did the lady who’s house we were at
and so she handed Julie another
handful and a half of candy, and said it was the
last she had, blew us a kiss, and at the end of the night
after we had split our bags
we each gave Julie back a bit of whatever she
wished to have. A candy coated apology, we knew, but
we were happy; all of us.
And afterwards we went to the back porch; because
when we were young
And I do miss being young.