By Mallory Schlabach, Editor in Chief
Face the Facts
Darkness fell on the town outside and dead autumn leaves in hues of orange, red and pale yellow fluttered to the ground as a west wind slowly picked up and porch lights flickered on. Anxiously clothes were pulled out of closets and make-up was carefully applied while mom watches in the bathroom mirror, surveying the princess dolled up for the evening.
Two plastic, neon-orange, pumpkin-shaped buckets sat near the sliding glass back door, next to the pole that had been chewed on too many times by the new black Labrador puppy that followed the little boy dressed as a pirate around the small living room on the second floor.
Children congregated outside the back door next to the homemade wooden tree swing, which aimlessly clanked into the crooked tree trunk as the wind picked up even more.
It was Halloween night and I, the pretty princess, looked in the mirror once more before waltzing down the back porch steps to join my neighborhood friends, while my pesky brother, the pirate, ran ahead.
I remember the night well; it was the night of the princess-pirate dance for candy.
Growing up, my brother, John, and I have always been competitive. He is only 17 months younger than me, so we butted heads more often than bulls. This is a familiar tale to those with siblings because each one knows what it is like to have the doting younger sibling always at your side, waiting for you to play with them, provoke them- anything but ignore them.
Such was the tale tonight. I had my princess dress on hours before dusk arrived, anxious to show off the sheer pink dress my mom had made the week before. The dress was trimmed in gold and long with big, puffy sleeves. I had taken the time to carefully brush my oh-so-curly hair into waves like all the princesses in cartoons and put on the final touch: a gold barrette with matching pink taffeta, flowing from my hair to the bottom of my back.
Meanwhile, the pirate ran around the living room while Abby, the puppy, playfully nipped at his heels as he shrieked with glee and swung the shiny plastic sword through the air at invisible pirates. Sneaking up on me as I headed towards my carefully polished pumpkin bucket, the pirate sliced his sword through the air snagging my barrette and crown with it.
Instantly there was war.
Mom quickly silenced our angry cries, readjusted the material and shooed us both out the door and into the night where we quickly raced up and down the sidewalk, anxious to gather the best candy on the block before the other arrived.
Away we went, the pirate’s black pants blending into the shadows so only the white T-shirt, red sash and portion of his face not covered by a patch showed; my jeweled princess heels clattering on the sidewalk in a shuffle and click pattern as I struggled to keep them on and beat the pirate to the next house.
Soon the block split with the pirate racing off into the night while I, grasping the fallen crown, crossed the street, caught up with neighborhood friends, while watching for the pirate out of the corner of my eye.
Up and down the block we raced, dodging across the empty street, knocking on doors with and without porch lights on, cheerfully singing, "Trick or Treat." When we reached the top of the hill, the limit set by our parents, we took off, heading towards home, cutting through back yards through secret paths and created every summer, through the yard, where the man with the mean Dalmatian refused to mow, and down the hill, crashing into the back of our house and narrowly avoiding the tree swing blowing wildly.
Out of breath, with reddened cheeks and wind-tossed hair, the pirate and I squeezed into the kitchen, anxious to count our candy and see who won. Laughter filled the room as we began to re-tell the evening dance from house to house, while each one swiped a piece of candy or two while the other one animatedly spoke.
Outside, the wind blew and the dead autumn leaves crunched as children returned home with buckets filled with candy, and one by one porch lights died.
It was the night of the dance of a princess and pirate; a night with my brother I won’t forget.