by Laurie Marshall
The steering wheel feels weird in my hands as if I don’t drive this car every day of the week but tonight is different and the girls’ chatter in the backseat is excited because it’s Halloween – give those to me Bridget, you know you can’t be trusted with sweets – and they’re a little louder than usual which makes me anxious and that’s probably why I’m sweating through my blouse because this is not like me at all, really – you’ve always been so dependable, Bridget – and I’m not sure it’s a good idea to knock on the door at this point because what will I even say if I see him or the people he calls mom and dad – what will people think, Bridget? – but at least this wig I wore during chemo is coming in handy now although it’s dumb to think he will recognize me since his eyes couldn’t even focus yet when I kissed his damp curls that smelled like the only home he’d known for nine months and let him go – God only gives us what He knows we can handle, Bridget – and the only thing I know about them is that he’s a professor and she likes to garden and who knows what they think they know about me – you’re really wasting your potential, Bridget – so I pull onto the street and slow down to watch out for the little superheroes and zombies and the girls squeal and grab their bags – put it behind you and focus on your future, Bridget – and I park on the corner under the streetlight and lock the doors as the girls hop out but now my legs won’t move so I grab their hands and let them guide me – children fill in all your empty places, Bridget – and suddenly I’m standing next to a neat boxwood hedge and jack-o-lanterns cut by teenaged hands and the girls knock and the door opens and he’s the most handsome boy I’ve ever seen except for his father – I’ll respect you even more, Bridget – and the girls yell “TRICK OR TREAT!” and the boy’s voice is crackly in that way that 15-year old boys’ voices are and I laugh out loud and try to think of something clever to say but then the door closes and I open my eyes and we’re home.
Laurie Marshall is an “emerging” writer and artist in her fifties living in Northwest Arkansas. Her words and art have been published in Bending Genres, Versification, Janus Literary, Flash Frog and Fictive Dream, among others. She’s a recovering codependent and is currently working toward opening an independent bookshop as a form of community activism. Connect on Twitter @LaurieMMarshall.