by Marty Kellie
Life and love can happen under the moon as well as under the sun
I faced the mirror and took a good look at myself. Dressed like this, wearing this outfit, with this mask, anything could happen tonight I thought. I grinned and tilted my head this way and that as I regarded my image in the mirror. Giggles started in my belly and moved up my throat. A very close facsimile of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, looked back at me. I tried the fake eye lashes again but my hands were still atwitter. Hair, dress, makeup – perfect. Everything except for the eye lashes.
I climbed over the mess on the bed, yanked the door open and ran into the next bedroom. No Katie. Shit. I scurried down the stairs to the kitchen.
“Katie, come help me with these eyelashes” I yelled.
No Katie. I fumed. We’ll be late, again. She always makes us late. Always wants to make an entrance. I tried again in the hall mirror. Shit. I hadn’t been this excited since I’d been a kid going door to door begging candy. Yes! I got one of the damn things on. The door bell went. I could hear the little animals gathering on the step.
“Trick or treat” they screeched. I could hear them dancing back and forth, from foot to foot.
No time for this I moaned to myself. Yes, I got the second one. Running to the kitchen I grabbed a bowl of loot and hit the front door.
“Coming, I’m coming.”
I ripped the door open to four shinning, little monster faces. They looked wired enough to puke. It’s their night I reminded myself as I gave my best Vampirella smile and dropped fistfuls of toxin sugar treats into each bag to a chorus of ohs and ahs. I knew I was being generous but what the hell.
“Ok, off you go kids. I have to finish my costume.” I giggled.
“The costume is very enticing.”
I stopped in my tracks and peered into the dark looking for the speaker.
“Thanks” I replied.
“You should be more careful. They don’t like it when they are mocked.”
“What? Why would you say that?”
I stepped out shading my eyes against the porch light. Someone was standing at the gate. It looked to be a slender young man with a pale face and longish dark hair. Something about him made me step back. The crowd had moved up the street and I was alone. Heart pounding I was suddenly very conscious be being alone in the dark with this stranger. I wrapped my arms around myself and backed towards the door. When had it gotten so cold? He executed a graceful bow and suddenly was standing at the bottom of the step.
“May I have the honor of knowing with whom I am conversing?” he asked.
His voice was so mellow it slide over my skin like a warm fur wrap. Eyes I could drown in.
“Vicky. My name is Vicky.” Those eyes.
“Victoria. That is such an elegant name and for such an enticing young woman.”
He extended one hand. He was going to kiss my hand! How elegant. It couldn’t hurt. Harmless. Charming. It’s just a quaint social custom from the past I thought to myself. An excuse for a harmless flirtation couched in socially correct phrases. Sleepily I proffered my hand.
“So did you get the lashes on?” Katie asked. “Who are you talking to?”
He was gone. A strange scent lingered in the air. It made me think of sweet, spicy Jamaican rum. I’d tasted it once. My brain was like molasses and I couldn’t remember where I’d tasted the rum just that I had.
“Some guy was remarking on my costume.”
“I think he was noticing more than the costume. How close did he get? I can still smell his aftershave on you.”
“What? What does it smell like?”
“Can’t you smell it? It’s kind of spicy, different, if you know what I mean.”
She dragged me back into the warmth and light and gave me a push.
“Come on, he couldn’t have been that hot. Snap out of it. We have to get going. Get your shoes on.”
Candy and costumes were for kids. Costume parties on the other hand where for big kids. You could take a break from reality and you can be whoever you wanted to be. Behind the vamp façade I could let myself go. After all, it wasn’t my face out there. It was Elvira’s face!
No one would believe that I would do Elvira. I did research for a living. I was stogy and anti social. For once, just for one night, I wanted to let my hair down. Once we got to the party I put the mask on and played it cool and silent. No one had a clue that it was me, yet. Katie was flirting with her financial advisor. She’d done herself up all in white and silver spangles like the good witch out of a fairy tale. Anyone could see that it was Katie. She wasn’t like me. She was so sure of herself. She didn’t need to hide behind a mask to let go and have fun.
Tonight I didn’t care. Behind this mask I felt like I could do whatever I liked, go wherever I wanted to go, be whoever I wanted to be. I intended to have some fun and dance. And with all the padding I’d stuffed into the bra I was getting asked to dance a lot.
My research assistant even asked me to dance. He kept looking at me with a bemused, confused expression. Pretty soon I abandoned him and headed for the veranda looking for a place to rest my feet. I knew the heels would be a mistake. Besides, I didn’t want him to put two and two together. Maybe, I mused, I could loose the shoes and tuck up the dress so I wouldn’t step on it.
As he bowed his lips brushed over the palm of my hand. I shivered in delight.
“How did you get here?” I asked.
“I was invited. Come walk with me for a bit. The garden is still in bloom. I have a chromatic garden such as this. White roses are so beautiful in the moonlight.”
I couldn’t speak. My chest constricted and my mind shut down. His eyes completely captured my attention. The music faded into the background and my senses began to swim. Time stood still. The party was nothing more than a vague, sleepy dream. As we walked into the dark we were alone.