It was warm afternoon in the surprisingly quiet city of Miami. The sun was starting to set, and the moon was now starting to show. There was a hunched up black cat crawling underneath a parked car in front of a small house, decorated for Halloween. Ten year old Sarah and her older brother, Josh, were walking to Starbucks, hoping for a quiet time that they could just sit and talk something they haven’t done in quite a while. Josh was leaving off to college soon and Sarah wanted to spend time with him before he left. The two siblings were very different; Josh cared very much about sports, while Sarah could care less. Josh like to go out with his friends and hates staying home. He normally gets very restless and hyper. Sarah has a very calm nature and enjoys staying in her bedroom writing in her diary.
At Starbucks, Josh and Sarah both some chocolate cake pops- their favorite- probably the one thing they have in common. “So, what are you planning to be for Halloween?” Josh asked.
Sarah hadn’t really thought about this much even though Halloween was a week away. “I’m not exactly sure,” she started. “I might want to be a vampire, or a monster, or something simple like that.”
Josh smirked. “What?” Sarah asked defensively.
“Nothing, it’s just that it’s a little cliché, don’t you think?”
“I guess, but I just feel like those costumes won’t be too hard to find. I mean, it’s already too late to start making one.”
Josh shrugged and the two sat in silence for a bit, trying to think of something to raise the tension. Then, Josh got up suddenly and started smiling. He walked out of Starbucks and Sarah looked at where he was going. She noticed Josh’s friend, Devin, and she saw Josh running over to him. The two started talking outside and Sarah was left alone. “So much for some time together,” she mumbled.
Sarah hadn’t hung out too much with her brother lately and she was starting to miss him. Even though he was right there, he seemed so far away. She just sat there and waited for them to finish talking. When Josh came back inside he saw Sarah’s face and noticed that she looked sad. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I think we should just go home,” she said quietly.
Sarah got up and threw the cake pop stick in the trash and walked out the door. Josh quickly followed, confused at what she was so upset about. Although he wanted to, Josh didn’t say anything the rest of the walk home. They lived pretty close to Starbucks and the walk was only about 15 minutes.
When the kids got home, their house was decorated with black and orange lights and plastic bats and paper skeletons hanging from the roof. There was a large inflatable pumpkin in the grass of the front yard. The leaves that were usually scattered all around the yard were neatly raked in a big pile near the side of the house. “Wow, Mom really outdid herself this year,” Josh said, looking around their colorful house.
He looked at Sarah who quietly nodded, still with an upset expression on her face, and walked inside. Josh watched her go in and he took a deep breath and shook his head. He then walked inside after her. He saw her go into her room and shut the door. Josh would’ve gone in but his Mom called him from the kitchen. When he entered the kitchen, there were two batches of sugar cookies on the counter top. He breathed in and smelled the sweet, sugary air. "Well?" His mom asked expectantly. "What do you think?"
"It's nice. You did great this year, Mom," he replied with a smile.
"Thank you," she said, going over to the pile of dishes toppling over by the sink.
“So, Sarah’s really mad at me for some reason. We were at Starbucks and everything was going fine and then I saw Devin so I ran out to say hi. Then when I came back in, she was mad at me,” he explained to his mom. “You understand girls, right? What’s up with her?”
His mom nodded her head. She knew why Sarah was upset because they had recently talked about it together. “Well. I think that you should go talk to her and ask her yourself.”
“Yeah, I tried that,” Josh said stubbornly.
“Okay, then I guess she’ll just be mad at you for who knows how long.”
Josh breathed heavily and turned around on his heel. “Fine,” he said, annoyed.
He walked down the hall to Sarah’s room and waited outside the door a little. Then he knocked. There was no answer at first but then Sarah asked who it was. “It’s your brother, the one who loves you and has absolutely no idea why you’re mad.”
“Go away!” she yelled.
Josh walked right in. He saw Sarah on her bean bag chair, reading a book that Josh hated. “You’re still reading that thing?” he asked.
“Yes, I am, and it’s called a book. Didn’t I tell you to go away?” she replied angrily.
Josh looked around and then walked to her bed and sat down. Sarah looked up at him and he realized she had been crying. “What’s wrong, Sarah? What did I do?” he asked her.
Sarah closed her book, put it on the floor, and looked up at Josh like he was the stupidest person on Earth. Josh raised his eyebrows, waiting for an answer. “When was the last time you asked me how my day was? What I learned in school? How I’m feeling?” Sarah finally said. "You're going away to college soon and all I wanted was ten minutes together!"
Josh was shocked. “I- I...” he stuttered.
“You don’t even care about me anymore! You just care about yourself and how you feel! If your friend just happens to walk along, you’ll leave me any day, no matter what!” she yelled, starting to cry again.
Josh didn’t know what to say. He realized she was referring to earlier at Starbucks when he totally ditched her to talk to Devin. “I didn’t realize that upset you, Sarah,” he said calmly. “I’m so sorry.”
“No you’re not!” she shouted. “You don’t change! You never will.”
She said that last part strangely quiet, as if defeated by her own voice.
Josh looked down and walked out of the room. His mom looked at him and gave him one of those, “I’m sorry” smiles.
Dinner that night was from Boston Market. They got the turkey family meal with macaroni and corn, and as a special treat, the delicious, gooey apple pie that they all loved. They sat around picking at their food. Everyone was disturbingly quiet, and of course Josh had to break the silence. “I think we should all go costume shopping together,” he said, maybe more enthusiastic than necessary.
“I think that is a great idea, Josh!” Mom said, following along. “How about you, Sarah? Are you up to it?”
Sarah shrugged and continued eating her dinner. Mom looked at Josh and he tilted his head back in frustration. Mom chuckled and got up to throw out her paper plate.
The next day, the three of them went costume shopping. The store was selling stuff for all the upcoming holidays and there were so many costumes to choose from. Sarah settled for a girl vampire costume and Josh found a zombie costume. “Cool costume,” Josh said to Sarah.
She looked at him, but then walked away. “Come on, Sarah,” Josh pleaded, following behind her. “I’m trying to be nice, here! What do I have to do?”
He hated that Sarah was mad at him. She clearly wasn’t interested in talking to him anytime soon.
The day of Halloween, Mom was going to a Halloween party and told Josh and Sarah to go trick-or-treating together. Sarah looked annoyed when she found out she had to spend a whole night with her least favorite person at the time. They finally left the house at 7:30 and planned to be back by 9:00. They started near their neighborhood and then went to the neighborhood where all the houses were extremely decorated. There was music, snacks, lights, and so many decorations all over the place. One house was decorated like a graveyard with fake hands sticking up from the dirt covered ground. Sarah was actually starting to have a nice time and was going to say something to Josh when she realized he wasn’t there.
She looked around and finally noticed Josh talking to Devin, who was dressed up as Freddy Kreuger. She mumbled, “Of course,” and sat down on a nearby yard chair. She rested her chin on her hand and sat there, once again, mad at Josh. Josh saw her and the two walked over to her. “Hey, so you guys wanna come over to my place? I’m having a Halloween party!” offered Devin.
Sarah could tell that Josh was going to say yes but then he looked at her and instead said, “Thanks for the invite, but actually I’m gonna spend the rest of the night trick- or- treating with Sarah.”
Sarah suddenly looked up at Josh who smiled at her. Sarah smiled back. She stood up and gave her big brother a hug. “Thank you,” she said looking up.
Josh hugged her tighter. “Ok. Well you guys have fun then,” said Devin, walking away.
“You sure you want to spend the night with your lame, little sister?" Sarah said accusingly.
“Hey! You are not lame! I love you and you know that. I would love to spend Halloween with you," he said with a huge smile.
"Good. I love you too."