Halloween is coming
Halloween is coming in all its pumpkin-carving, sweet-collecting, dressing-up ritualistic splendour. Our favourite holiday. Time to out-do each other, to see who can conjure up the best encounter with the spirits, scare the other into nightmares. But this year is different. It looms between us, as if trying to fill the gap created by our separation.
Since the last 31st October, Christmas passed, our birthdays too, Easter and summer holidays you took without me, but none of them seemed to matter so much.
Last year, dressed as Romeo and Juliet from beyond the grave, we cleaned up at the Halloween ball: best costume, best couple. Best couple, it’s enough to make me choke.
Our house looks sad and forgotten today beside number thirty-two whose four kids demand an A* for decorating effort, complete with creepy music when you ring their doorbell. Where are all our decorations? The spiders’ webs, carved pumpkins, the dancing skeleton you told me off for buying. Too expensive you said, but you laughed harder than me at its antics and how the trick-or-treaters loved it.
I peer through the lounge window. Who or what are you going as this year? Do you have a new Juliet?
There you are, sitting at the table staring at an untouched pumpkin. You’re dressed in jeans and that fleece of yours I always hated, an outfit as far removed from fun and flirting with the spirits as it’s possible to get. You look a little . . . deflated, lost even. Then you nod as if deciding something, place one hand on top of the pumpkin and pick up the knife in front of you. The knife you used to spill my blood. It distracts you. You turn it over and over, run your finger down the blade.
I see you glance at the kitchen. Are you remembering how you cleaned away the fatal traces of our last argument? All that night I watched you. Careful strokes with the scrubbing brush and bleach and every cleaner we possessed. I used to love that about you, how methodical you are.
First the kitchen where you killed me, scrub, scrub, scrub. Then the car boot where I took my final ride with you. Then the phone calls, ‘My girlfriend hasn’t come home. . . yes, we had a fight, she wanted some time apart but I’m worried . . . well, she always wanted to travel and her passport is missing . . .’ And the little touches, the lump sums you took out of our bank account on my card that next day and on each of your trips abroad. I never realised what an accomplished actor you are, how consummate a liar, even to my parents’ faces. And you hugged my mum. I can’t forgive you for that.
I walk around to the back of the house to where I know you’ll have left the back door unlocked on your last trip to the garage, my passport to the kitchen where the knife block awaits.
My hand reaches for the doorknob and now, after almost a year of trying, it doesn’t pass right through me.
It is time.
The veil between our worlds is lifting.
Halloween is coming and, now, my love, so am I.
Nine schools on two continents didn’t make for an easy childhood so books became the only constant in my life, even if they didn’t help me get out of sports days. Now settled in Milton Keynes, England, I juggle reading with writing, my four children and husband, and a day job, a much nicer mix. You can find out more about me and The Only (4.7 star rating on amazon) at http://www.karenguyler.com/. If you enjoyed this story, look out for the Celebrations, but not as you know them anthology coming soon, details on my website.
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