Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween: Looking Back

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope that you've picked out your costume, and that you've had fun. This year, sad to say, is the first year my family didn't go trick-or-treating. It was more of a tradition than an actual candy grab, but I was hoping that we would get a chance to celebrate. In any case I got to wear my costume to a Toastmasters seminar, and show it off my Other Mother button eye mask. 

To commemorate the loss of tradition, and to move forward, I'm pasting an essay I wrote in 2008 for college applications, with the prompt "The Road". Enjoy seeing my writing from seven years ago:

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Halloween dominates other holidays with its spooky atmosphere; aside from the cute ghoul, people want scary thrills that allow them to sleep safely at night with mountains of candy pushing against the cupboard doors. 
 On my street, each October evening captures that same spooky atmosphere. As my mother and I walk, sometimes with a flashlight, we see orange streetlamps dot the concrete, illuminating a feral cat or the occasional pedestrian, ourselves exempted. The fence that protects a half-constructed house creaks in the cool breeze. Only a few days ago as I was biking, a cat shot out black as an opal towards the canal, right under a full moon. I don’t believe in superstitions, as I’ve had fairly good luck for the past few days. 
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Yet this street, thrilling and safe as it appears, can only be reached by one practical means: a car. No bike paths line the front lawns, let alone the roads outside of my neighborhood. Since few cars clutter the road, not many find this a problem. I love to drive to school during the autumn because the sun dawns, allowing light to shed on the green mangrove bushes and brightly painted houses. Many have personal gardeners tending the impatiens and begonias and whatever vine they can grow on a doorway. In one front yard they replaced a monstrous hedge with a turquoise leafy fence that partially hides a trampoline.
Sometimes I wonder why the neighbors only appear for the annual block party, and perhaps the neighborhood meeting. Some move in, and quickly try to sell us their house. My mother laughed at one offer; before the metal fences barred us, we had explored the home in question while it slowly converted from a dirt mound to a wondrous mansion.  

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Our road and its neighbors don’t know what to make of us. We never socialize, except with a lovely lady who brings us avocados, never try to show off our house because then it would be a parlor, not a home, and we never plan to move. Yet we have privacy and security thanks to our road, two elements that most neighborhoods lack. I can bike without fear under a full moon in the evening.

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