“Good morning dears. Happy Halloween!” Smiling, Audrina woke her children. Raye stretched, slowly rising and coming out to Audrina to get dressed. Riley curled up under his blanket hiding away from the cold for a moment longer before rising to get dressed. Both children brushed their teeth. Audrina combed out Raye’s hair. Before she knew it they were climbing the steps onto the big yellow school bus as she waved goodbye.
Audrina walked back into the house to find Marie already awake and whining for cartoons. Turning on the tv, she started the movie that was on from last night. Her bottom barely hit the dining room chair where her laptop waited for her when Landis awoke. Of course, she thought, her hour of writing had been wasted. Soon after Aaron awoke, and Audrina shut her laptop down in defeat.
With E.T. playing in the background, and an extra skip in Audrina’s step, she smiled as she swallowed down her medicine, folded the blankets from the night before, and started a load of laundry.
“I did all the laundry again yesterday,” Audrina complained to Aaron, “and once again the basket is completely full already. I don’t know where it all comes from!”
Audrina felt like all she did was laundry any more. Washed. Dryed. Folded. Put away. Just to be repeated the following day. Yesterday she had asked her husband how he’s going to handle getting all this done when she returned to work. It was a hint, but one she was confident was not going to be followed through on. She knew, just like before the accident, that after working all week the laundry would be left for her to do on her days off. Likely so would the house cleaning and all the other things that were easily put off during the week.
It frustrated her but she was not going to let it bother her today. Today was Monday! Even better than that, today was Halloween!
The day held it’s normal busyness. Aaron had a dentist appointment that day. Before long it was time to leave the laundry sit and Audrina, Aaron, Marie, Landis, Lynn, and a family live-in friend, Jack, all loaded up in their old rusty but trusty suburban.
The only ones left home were Lynn’s boyfriend Dan and Aunt Wanda. Aunt Wanda was good about cleaning. Even though she didn’t clean quite like Audrina liked, they usually came home to a clean house when she was left alone. Audrina did like that part. To walk in to a clean fresh smelling home was one of life’s simple pleasures.
On the ride to the dentists office they passed a road he used to live on a long time ago. He who still managed to cause even the smallest of flutters within Audrina. She tried to ignore the road. She tried to hold her head as if it were frozen stiff, but to no avail. As they drove past she turned her head, glancing ever so slightly down the road. She wondered which house they lived in, him and his girlfriend of the time. Was it a nice house, she asked herself.
She remembered writing him a letter when he lived there. Of course, she had been with Aaron at the time. She did it out of revenge, wrote the letter that is. Aaron always had his ex girlfriend around. How was Audrina to ever build a relationship with his children when they were constantly leaving with his ex. To spend time with her. To mingle with her parents. To listen to the web of lies she weaved through their minds. Even though Aaron didn’t invite her to be a part of their lives, he didn’t make her stop either. It served him right that Audrina wrote a letter to her ex. If his could be around than so could hers.
In a blink of an eye they passed the road and just as quickly Audrina blinked the thoughts of him and that road from her mind.
Arriving at the dentist office a few minutes early, Aaron leaped out of the car and sauntered into the building, leaving Audrina a good twenty feet behind. She didn’t care though. It was a small building and she walked right past him checking in to go sit in the waiting room.
They sat watching a ridiculous show on the television. It was a show Audrina recognized, ‘The View’. A show she never did care for but found herself watching in more than one waiting rooms in her day. Today though the show was called ‘A Cartoon View’ and the stage was set up in a Halloween cartoon fashion. The stars of the show were signing some little ditty. Aaron and Audrina looked at each other dumbfounded at the stupidity that lay before their eyes. It was completely silly, but as they flashed through the photos of Halloween’s past and all the themes the show had done, Audrina thought it was a little cool that they went to so much effort to celebrate the holiday. She didn’t dare say a word to Aaron about it though. He already thought her sense of humor was retarded, not funny in the least. No cause to add more evidence to his arsenal.
Aaron was only back with the dentist for a few minutes and they were on their way again. Audrina was happy it wasn’t a long wait, she was already fighting to stay awake on the drive there. Her medicine made her so awfully tired much of the time. After the dentist they ran a few errands in town and took Lynn to the courthouse. She had to fill out yet another motion fighting to see her five month old, Lee. Since Lee was only a month or so old Lynn and Lee’s father had fifty-fifty custody of the child. Every time it was Lynn’s turn to get the child back though, the father refused. This time it had been nearly three months since Lynn had seen Lee, and the courts seemed in no rush to help her hold his father accountable to the custody agreement.
With papers filed they all headed back home just in time for Riley and Raye to be getting off the school bus.
“Happy Halloween Day!” Raye exclaimed as she poured candy onto the dining room table.
“How was your day, Raye? Did you have a fun party?” Audrina asked, wondering if Raye had managed an entire day yet, a fun filled day, without crying because she had missed home.
“I got wrapped up like a mummy, Mommy. With toilet paper.” Raye excitingly continued, “And we watched a movie. And I got all this candy. And look Mommy a broom with a pencil and pretzels. Is it five o’clock yet?”
Audrina shook her head. It was a long way from five o’clock. Perhaps too long. She stalled Raye and Marie for another thirty minutes before finally giving in to the insistent begging and began dressing them for trick-or-treating. It was only four thirty.
“Now you stand right here,” Audrina instructed Landis, “Everyone look at me. Say cheese!” Snap. Snap. Snap. Audrina took a few pictures as quickly as she could. Hopefully at least one photo showed all the children looking at her with smiles, and eyes open.
Before she knew it all four children, Lynn, Dan, Jack, Audrina and Aaron were loaded up in the suburban. They went to pick up Aaron’s son and his son’s girlfriend and then they’d be off on a fun filled trick-or-treating adventure. It was the first time so many of them had went out together. Though Audrina was sure she’d get pulled over at any moment and have enough seat belt tickets to last the rest of her lifetime, it was lovely having so many of the kids, young and old, doing something like this together.
After hours of walking and knocking, trick-or-treating and thanking, the young ones were finally growing tired. Marie started her naughty antics. Raye started crying about school the next day. Landis, he just plain started crying. They waved their white flags and walked back to the truck, stopping for pizza along the long ride home.
By the time they arrived all the kids quickly snuggled in to their beds without even so much as a glance at the treasure of candy they had scored. It was all well enough though. Audrina and Aaron were right behind them, fast asleep.