The sun came out today and the sky is that perfect blinding blue, the one that everyone wants to be the backdrop to their photos and memories. As I was driving, listening to the radio and woolgathering, my mind went back to a long past yesterday where I was little and guarded, and sick on Halloween with the chicken pox.
I remember my mother, harried with four youngsters, three on the cusp of teendom, looking at me with squinted eyes. She spied some suspicious dots of red on my face and quickly had me shedding my skivvies to make a diagnosis. Chicken pox, oh joy.
I was five years old and looking forward with enthusiasm to the next night, roaming the dark with my brother and sisters, a ghoul with the gift of gab. “Trick or Treat!” I had practiced night and day, even in my sleep, and was so ready for that free candy. Now, dreams dashed, I was sent to bed without the prize. Little did I know what was in store.
I watched with disappointment as my siblings left. They laughed at each others costumes, rushing out the front door in anticipation of the night’s haul. I cried because I couldn’t join them. I drifted through the door of my room like a ghost, haunted by dreams of lollipops and gumdrops and the anguish of a sugar rush denied. A few hours later, I heard the front door open, but I didn’t stir. Fresh water rose up under my eyes, a flood of ennui running a gusher. I heard the merry voices of the returning journeymen, fresh from their candy haul, and then my mother called to me.
Slowly I rolled off the blanket, left the damp divot in my pillow and headed toward the living room where I was certain to view the others rolling in candied contentment, counting tootsie rolls and comparing chocolates. Reluctant but resigned, I walked in.
There before me stood my sisters and my brother, beaming with pride. They held out a sack, a pillow case, full to the brim and spilling over with every sort of confection, but most of all affection, for their sick little sister. They scoured the neighborhood, telling a tale between “Tricks” and “Treats” of their sister, unable to come our because of the pox, andthe neighbors had been generous. Eagerly, they presented their booty to me, all for me, their love evident in each and every unwrapped goody.
This was love. This was family. This was every good memory I will ever have. Three teenagers who gave up their night and their avarice for sweets for the sister who couldn’t go with them on the best night of a child’s year. They gave it all to me, every ounce- pounds probably- of candy and chocolate and goodness. In a few days, I was sated and sharing it all. The day as bright as this one, the Puerto Rican sky as blue as the sea and my love for them as just as wide. I will never forget it.
You know, Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Is there any wonder why?