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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 38 page 14


Patricia returned to the living room and watched Scooby Doo with the same piqued interest as ever. Yet all the while she had a tingling sense of unease. When the cartoons finished, Patricia stood up. She skipped out of the living room. She breezed past her parents who looked dour and somewhat strained. Her mom’s make-up looked blotchy.

Patricia peeked out the bathroom window that looked onto the street. One car drove slowly down the snow-packed road. Looks nice out! With the sun shining on a brilliant whiteness outside, Patricia felt invited by the warm winter’s day. Gonna go outside. Yipee!

Patricia put on her winter coat and boots and went outside. So warm I don’t even need to put mitts on. She left the pink woolen mitts in the pocket of her red down filled jacket. The mittens had been a gift from Gram knitted specially for her.

She ambled down the sidewalk. The snow crunched under her moccasin boots.

She exhaled purposefully in a test to see her breath. Nothing! It really was a warm winter’s day. Patricia smiled. She loved these rare sunny days. They were an anomaly in a Saskatchewan winter that was often but not always fierce by Hallowe’en, though it was a certainty by Remembrance Day and you ended up with a wind-whipped face red and raw.

But today the sky was actually almost blue. The sunlight on the snow banks made them glitter like crushed diamonds. All was a twinkly wonderland, a white sheen dream.

For a moment, she had the urge to just stop and drop, just flop on top of a snowbank. Maybe make a snow angel. That was what she and Barb and Carly liked to do at recess. Nah. No angels today. It’s Trick or Treat day.

Can’t wait to wear my Tinker Bell costume!

She wore it last year and it still fit. The costume was hand-sewn by Gram and had been passed down from an older sister or two, complete with a sparkly magic wand.

Spying a wild snowball fight ahead, Patricia came to a standstill. Two gangs of boys were pelting one another. Both gangs had built snow walls to hide behind. They only stood up to lob an ice bomb at the opposing side.

I’m getting outta here fast!

She didn’t wish to become a target or get caught by the boys and have her face washed in the snow. She hurried down a different direction.

The same boys had fought intensely over the summer. They formed guerilla groups and attacked one another with stones, crab apples, BB guns, firecrackers, they had forts, lookouts, everything. They built bicycle ramps and did dangerous leaps à la Evel Knievel so they could spring on the enemy. It went on for days, finally shut down by a visit from the RCMP.

Hate those boys so much. So glad I’m a girl!

Barb was going to dress as a clown, Carly would be a werewolf. They bought their costumes from the All Purpose store where there were rows of costumes. Bugs Bunny. Pirate. Vampire. Ghost. Flimsy plastic costumes that snagged easy and could catch fire. Glad I got my Tinker Bell costume and not those things!

Gram had made the costume years earlier. It was just one of her many seemingly endless projects. Canning. Making borscht soup or lemon squares. Endless rounds of solitaire. Your mom is so busy at the school that I need to do something to help out, Gramma said. As no growth spurt had graced Patricia’s flimsy frame, Tinker Bell was tried on and judged by her mom to still be wearable.

Thank God! I’d hate to see that costume put away.

Patricia considered dropping over for a visit to see her friends. But she decided against it. They were all going out trick or treating later that night anyway. I’ll catch up with them later. Hopefully we won’t get too many Hallowe’en kisses or Thrills gum.

Gonna go see Gram instead. See if she made popcorn balls for Hallowe’en like she always does. Maybe she’ll give me one. So Patricia began sauntering to the other side of town, in no rush. The day was so enchanting she savored it as if it were her last.