Yesterday was Halloween. It was the second one since James passed away. I had a hard time with it last year. I handed out candy and then went to a party dressed as Ugly Betty-had to make good use of my braces!-but my heart really wasn't in it. This year, the Halloween party was early; it was on the 17th. I went back and forth about going. I enjoyed putting together my rock star costume but that was it. I really did not enjoy the party that much. My friends and I got there around 8:30; by 10:00 I was wondering why I was even there. It was something James looked forward too. It was something I did for him. I think this year's party will be my last one. Of course, I said that last year too. I am just getting too old for the inevitable drama. I want a nice, quiet, minimal drama life.
I was fine with yesterday being Halloween until Friday when I decided I did not have enough candy and set out at lunch to get some more. I picked up a few packages at the Dollar Store and then decided since I was right there, I would run into Safeway and get a bag of chips to go with my sandwich that I no longer wanted to eat. I ended up getting a couple more bags of candy while I was there. I felt sad walking back to my car. I was reliving the conversation we had every year in which James told me I had plenty of candy and his "of course you did" response when I came home from work on Halloween and told him I got more candy. I was remembering his wisely not saying a word when I still had a bunch of candy leftover after the last kid rang the doorbell.
Last night, the first kids rang the bell at 6:18. It took me about 1/2 hour to reach 50 kids and about 50 minutes to reach 100. I keep track for two reasons. First, so I have a rough idea of how many to expect the next year (seriously, the accountant in me just does not stop). Second, it is a game for me. The goal is to have more kids than the year before. Obviously, this is not something I can control. Last year, I had 260 kids. It was my best year in this house and I wondered if James had sent a few kids my way to make me happy. I knew that would be tough to beat. This year, I had 276. And I still have a bunch of leftover candy.
It was hard to not have James upstairs playing his game while I was handing out candy. There were a couple of times where I almost shouted out my "milestones" out of habit. There a couple of times when I could hear his words: "don't worry, they will come" when 6:00 came and went without a knock on the door. "You have plenty of candy," after my supply was cut in half after the 7:00 rush. "There is still plenty of time left," after the 8:00 lull when I start fretting about not beating the prior year's number. "Anything good left?" when I turn the light off at 9:00 and still have a bowl full of candy, having saved as many Almond Joys for James as I could-candy I was sure to bring home and hide when he wasn't looking so he wouldn't eat them all ahead of time.
I sent my friend text messages all night long with my "progress." I thanked her at the end of the night for putting up with them. It was easier than last year, I will admit that. But some of the joy was definitely gone. I wonder if it will ever come back?