Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Treat” by Paula Aicklen



We suffered 362 days a year without sugar. But tonight…

The light was slowly fading and suppertime was fast approaching. Four pillowcases were out at the ready, one for each of us, empty now but holding the promise of a long-awaited bounty.

Itchy fabric around my neck was a small price to pay for the orgy of sugar that was to come and my clown costume was beautiful with its tulle collar dancing up and down with each excited step I took. No matter it was a third Hallowe’en appearance for this costume, I still felt so special.

We four sisters assembled hurriedly at the kitchen table, our mother uncharacteristically chatty and lighthearted. Who could believe it? She enjoyed the break in our usual suppertime routine as much as we did. 

Soup and grilled cheese were gulped and swallowed, dishes cleared. Our final touches were applied – the blackened cork to mark the two front teeth of my Hobo sisters Kate, Linda and Marilyn.

The countdown had begun – matches lit, pumpkin lid lifted, Jack-O-Lantern alight and flickering in the cool autumn evening.

Our pillowcases were assigned, our buddy system hastily reviewed and we were off – out into the neighbourhood of small, working-class houses, with all manner of costumed characters joining in on the fun.

Our excitement sparking, we rushed door to door, shrieking, “Trick or Treat!”

Kate had my hand, perhaps not happily so. She yank on my arm, hastening us to the Hallowe’en Mecca of Tourangeau Road: Mrs. Whiton’s house.

It was brightly lit, a happy, friendly looking abode, and the aroma of melted brown sugar and butter wafting through the air was beyond description. But the line of ghosts and ghouls awaiting the prized treats was disappointingly long. Were we too late?

One by one, kids politely took their turns. Maddening! Waiting on the stairs, all we could do was hope and pray that by the time we made it to the door there would be some left.

And then there she was, a smiling Mrs. Whiton, greeting us warmly and proffering each of us a bright red, beautiful, handmade taffy apple! Not one that had to be shared four ways but one for each of us!

Mmmm…warm, childhood bliss.

Paula Aicklen is a budding writer who engages in many creative ventures and has always had a love for the written word. Paula works in Oakville as a design consultant and floral designer and hopes to mesh her writing with these pursuits.

 See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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