Thursday, November 29, 2007

A belated Halloween story

Since I had taken a bit of a break from posting over the last few weeks, I never had a chance to write out the story of our Halloween. In general, it was a really fun, pleasant night together as a family, but the ending of the night was strange.

We started out the night by driving J around to trick or treat at Husband's family's houses (3 stops), then came back to our house, loaded J up in the red wagon with some beer for Husband and I, and we trick or treated on our street, then walked over to the neighborhood next to ours and went to some friends' houses over there. It was nice to go on our street - there aren't many kids in our neighborhood, so J was the only trick or treater that came down our street and so our neighbors loved having him come by! We live next to this very affluent, nice neighborhood that is all kids (which is where we went after we did our street), and so everyone stays in that area and any kids that do live in our neighborhood go over to that area to trick or treat also. So it was fun to go to our neighbors because they were so excited to have a trick or treater! He got lots of candy at these houses since no one else had come by, but his favorite house was the grandma who was giving out bags of goldfish! I think that's when he realized that everything he was getting was something good to eat! He was so cute walking up to each house with his bag over one arm and holding his baseball bat in the other (he went as a C.ardinals base.ball player).

So after we hit our street, we walked over to the "nice" neighborhood. We walk our dog and J in that neighborhood all the time and so most of the people there recognize us and seem to think we live over there anyway. We have some friends in the area, so we went by their houses, and then went to the house of one of Husband's work colleagues. We had a beer with them and sat on their porch for a little while looking at all the kids while J ran around in the yard. It made Husband and I wish we lived in this neighborhood - it was so fun to see everyone out trick or treating together in groups and everyone talking - but it's probably 10 years down the road before we can afford something there!

After this house, we went by the house of one of Husband's former work colleagues. A little history here - the guy is a jerk. He's been on his wife with another of Husband's former work colleagues as well as at least one of the secretaries that works at Husband's old job. Husband and some of his current colleagues, who all used to work with this guy, talk a lot about him and what he's doing. They've seen him out with his girlfriend and knew for a long while what was going on - way before his wife found out. And when his wife did find out, we all knew about it and heard the story. And his wife is the nicest, kindest person and they also have a toddler-age son. I see her some when I'm out walking in the neighborhood, and she always stops to talk and is very friendly. So we decided to go by their house to trick or treat, especially since their son is about the age of J.

It turned out to be horribly awkward - she was home by herself, since she recently found out about the affairs and her husband moved out, but she invited us in and we all sat there having an awkward conversation while completely avoiding the obvious fact that her husband wasn't there and it was clear we knew why. She's too classy to say anything about her husband leaving or why he wasn't there, but I never before had so strongly understood what it's like to have "an elephant in the room". I can't even really put into words how sad it was to be in her house, watching her with her young son, and knowing the heartbreak she must be feeling.

Husband and I left and were quiet most of the way home. I kept thinking about how we had spent a lot of time gossiping about this family - Husband would come home from work and tell me how someone at the office at seen the guy out with his girlfriend, or how someone else he works with was talking to another colleague at the old office, and he told them that the guy and his girlfriend had been out of town all week together, or that there were rumors that he'd left home and moved in with his parents because they were getting divorced. It seemed like we were just talking about the plot of some awful primetime show. We'd also joke about this guy and what he was doing, making light of the whole situation.

But the whole time we were walking home, I kept thinking how awful this was for his wife, and how it made it so real to be in her house and just feel the pain in the room. I hated that we had been taking their heartache and making it into something entertaining. I told Husband that although I'm sure all the folks at his office would love to hear the details of our visit to their house - how it was true that the guy wasn't living there, but pictures of him were still in the house, and how his wife just seemed devastated - I didn't think he should say a word about it to anyone. He agreed. We haven't talked about this family or the guy since then, and I think that Husband has stopped participating in the talk at the office about this guy.

So that was our Halloween - I've though about it a lot since then, and I hope I remember next time that someone else's heartache should never be entertainment.

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