We went back to the old elementary school, Charlotte’s last year, for the annual Halloween bash. Dawn and I stood in the playground feeling tired and out of sorts, trying to make out the identities of kids running by as the light fell. Charlotte and her friend Anna were easy to pick out, they went as bananas. For some reason Lily came (she’s now in 8th grade), dressed as a Starbucks barista with fake nails and tight jeans, fashion shoes and pumps, make-up…with a boy named Adrian she’s befriended who has to like her on another level, I think…but Lily insisting she’s gay, even though she shows no signs I’d associate as gay…and it’s all so confusing.
We stood facing the sun set, past the tall trees: a knot of bloody clouds changing shape, a candle going out. And I said to Dawn, remember Scotland?—three years ago we were there for Halloween, and the light was like this. They have another name for trick or treating neither of us could remember. Dawn said, check your blog.
And we talked to a mom with one of the only African American kids at the school, a gay couple who adopted a black boy and girl—Dawn made friends with the moms, who are separated now, and I can only remember one of their names but I’m afraid to use it on the wrong one, so I just smile and say hi.
Adrian had to get home by 7 which I was glad for, and we left without sentiment. They sat in the back of the car as I drove Adrian to his dad’s, and Lily commented on the music: I said this is The Cure, a song called The Same Deep Water as You…and I drove slowly over the speed bumps in Adrian’s dad’s waterfront community so we could hear the last of the lyrics…and remembered being 13 myself, in the back of my parent’s car driving home from the movies with a girl I liked, springtime but warm enough we had the windows rolled down…the look of the sky going from pink to purple, the first time I heard the song “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” laughing at the lyrics, then he was a she…
I remembered it in bed Saturday morning lying next to Dawn, the sound of her breathing, the clock tolling downstairs, the dog smacking her lips…thinking I’m older now, but richer. Riches defined not in gold, but memories.