Halloween is a perfect holiday. First of all, I like it because it falls so close to my birthday. But secondly, there's a certain atmosphere about it that really warms my heart. The weather starts to change, the skies grow gray and cloudy, there's an excitement in the air about dressing up as ghouls and witches and going trick-or-treating. My family moved away when I was five, so I never experienced trick-or-treating until coming to college (my friends and I went trick-or-treating for Second Harvest, a charity organization that collects canned goods, and even though we asked for cans, we got lots of candy thrown into our bags as well), and I might as well have been a child again; it was that exciting and magical. This year, it rained on Halloween, after months of sticky summer days and constant sunshine. Monster and I dressed up as Minnie Mouse and Troy from High School Musical, and we went out dancing at Berkeley's outdoor swing night. We danced underneath a passageway as rain drummed the roof above us, fairies and skeletons swing dancing next to us and even out in the rain, droplets glistening in their green wigs.
I loved that it was raining, love the feeling of watching it fall outside our high-glass windows as I curl up on the couch in a fuzzy blanket and my favorite pajama pants. It brings me right back to my childhood, when I would bury my nose in a good book and read to the rhythm of raindrops. Of course, when I woke up and stepped outside to a rainy afternoon and had to bike to class with raindrops blinding me and lamented the conspicuous wet imprint that a wet bike seat had left on my butt, I released an impressive string of swear words against rain and its mother. But this Halloween, nothing seemed more delightful and desirable than gray skies and rain.
This past weekend, we had a reunion for my dance group, and Monster and I got to meet lots of old friends and watch videos of our past performances, laughing and cringeing about dances well-executed and moves not-so-well executed. My dance group holds such a special place in my heart. I joined it as a sophomore in college, and it gave me a chance to dance, to perform, to feel part of a group again in a university that would otherwise have swallowed me whole, made me anonymous. My senior year, I stepped up to become the group's leader, a position which I held for the next two years. This is my first year not being in the group, and I feel bittersweet, nostalgic, sad, and relieved all at once--sad because I miss being part of a group and performing, obviously, but bittersweet because while I know life with Monster will only get better, I have a hard time accepting that this is it, this is the end of college life, and in a few months I'll be starting work in the so-called and much-feared "real world."
There have been two weddings so far of people who met each other in my dance group, and a third one will be held this spring. Monster and I shared a special smile when everyone looked at us and said we would be next, and even gave us pre-emptive congratulations when we said goodbye for the night. "Let's beat them to it," we joked about the third wedding couple, meaning we'd have to get engaged and married by spring. Not quite yet, not quite yet. That's the most important thing my dance group gave me--it left me with Monster, a romance that budded but remained subdued as we fought our attraction for each other all year long, denying that we could be anything more than friends, and finally came to bloom at the end of the year in something that feels effortless and natural and perfect all at once.
In a crazy twist of fate, we're actually performing with our dance group again this Friday, for the very last time. Monster and I are going to have to put a lot of time into extra rehearsals this week to make sure we're ready for the show, but I'm already feeling the excitement, the adrenaline rush that I've missed so much, the sweat on the palm of my hands as I think of the audience waiting to watch us perform. And I can't wait for this one last dance.