The doublewide trailer Beckie and I rented off River Road was down on the south side of town and had a pit already dug for fires out back. It was the night of our Halloween party, but I still had to close up shop at the Piggly Wiggly, which meant I’d get home after people already showed up. They’d just have to wait on roasting weenies. I reckoned they’d be fine though.
Beckie made a taco dip recipe she found in Better Homes and Gardens, a Jell-O salad with plastic eyeballs in it, and boiled two pounds of peanuts for them to munch on. She hadn’t told me what our dang costume would be this year. Money had been tight since we moved into a bigger trailer, but Babygirl got her own room. No more sleeping on the pull-out sofa for the big girl. Well. I guess except for that night. She tick-or-treated in her grandma’s neighborhood for the good candy. Beckie’s mom bought them matching princess costumes. I could just see them, walking with her little hand coiled inside grandmas. Beckie’s mom stopped being pleasant once we got together and started raising Babygirl with two mamas. But she loved the hell out of her only granddaughter.
I picked up food at the Piggly Wiggly before we closed down. They only gave employees a twenty-five percent discount so I slipped the nice hot dogs into my purse. Beckie hated when I’d steal. She’d say we already had the old town folks’ eyes on us all the time, but that was all in her head. She’d say if I paid attention, she could see that they all wanted to light us on fire with their eyes as they’d pity Beckie.
Speaking of being a bad parent — the bakery at my store throws out day old baked good, so I took ‘em. Ain’t nothing wrong with a day-old donut. Babygirl loved strawberry donuts. I grabbed the only two left for her to eat after grandma dropped back off. The trick would be hiding them until the drunk adults were gone.
I parked my little blue truck on our gravel driveway. When I got inside, Beckie was fixing her lipstick in the mirrored toaster. My love looked so beautiful, even though she was looked like a bag of trash.
The place looked great. Beckie’d hung purple and orange streamers strung along the ceiling. Babygirl’s jack-o’-lantern was lit up on edge of the kitchen counter, in front of all the goodies Beckie put out. All of our friends were done up in costume.
“Finally!” Beckie said and planted some of her raspberry lipstick on my lips.
“Whatcha got goin’ on here, babe?” I said looking at the stuffed trash bag she wore as a leotard with the top tied around her neck with a shoelace.
“Follow me!” she said as she pulled me into our bedroom where I followed her instructions to get in the bag of trash.
“What is goin’ on here?” I laughed. “You’re lucky you’re cute.”
Truth be told I was just happy to be home with my love and everyone I held dear.
“Close your eyes,” she said after securing the bag with a shoelace to match hers. She pulled me into the bathroom, I could tell by the cool tile on bare feet.
“When you open your eyes, read your name tag and I’ll read mine,” she said. “Okay… open.”
I looked in the mirror and said, “I’m Hefty.”
She said, “I’m Glad.”
Andi Van den Berge is working on her MFA at Goddard College. Andi integrates her perspective as a queer person from the south, into her work of exploring the human condition. Through her research and writing seeks to understand how environment during adolescence is a crucial definer in our individual stories.
Original Artwork by Kita Das