The Lingering Shadows

Autumn came quietly when I wasn’t looking. She snuck in like a whisper, a tiny flame, and took over while I had my head turned.

I awoke this hallowed morning with a sensation of quiet guilt. Throwing off the covers, I sat down to my computer. Melancholy settled in to replace the blanket that the Boyfriend had resettled on me as I slept fitfully before heading to work. When I woke at 9, I remembered the day and mentally recapped my day’s schedule. Two walks and a meet and greet, then out to Old Town again to a Halloween dinner at the medieval restaurant there. And while I am excited for dinner, I can’t help feeling guilty as I remember my spiritual plans for the day.

Pumpkin carving has always been a spiritual experience for me. Removing the seeds and scraping the insides with an old spoon, smoothing out the interior before I move onto the face. Each year, I carve at least three pumpkins: Sam, Dean, and Hainey. Two named for those brothers that hunt the things that go bump in the night; the third to honor the holiday. But this year, no gourds adorn my windowsill. No haunting, flickering faces to light the night as the sun settles beneath the horizon.

The altar is bare. Two candles and incense sit there, waiting. My cards lay there, unbound by the ribbon I’ve tied them with since our first rite.

As I sit in this cafe, waiting for enough time to pass to meet this new client, I find myself sorrowful. Tears prick the corners of my eyes as I recall all my plans and I feel guilt for everything I haven’t done. I will have to atone, I know, as the dark of winter claws its body over the land, settling itself into my apartment, hiding in the shadows that linger there just a touch too long when I flick on the light. And as it enters my abode, I know I will have to fight the dark harder this year, else welcome it into my home and let it have its way.

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