He transforms in this costume. It is something hilarious and slightly strange and amazing to behold. He has a dance all choreographed and he slinks down the hallway on all fours. He moves in close -- too close -- and doesn't ever say a word.
That's how I knew the costume was perfect for him. Lots of people will be Avengers and Mario Brothers -- that's what I told him. And he thought about it for weeks and chose to suit up in a way that really suits him.
He wore the costume many times before today. One Saturday, he was in and out of it six or seven times. He is uninhibited. He is inspired. He is in love with himself in all that spooky Spandex.
This morning, he couldn't keep still while I tucked all of his skater-punk hair into the mask and Velcro-ed it shut. He fidgeted while I tied his sneakers and tucked his pants way down in the skinny legs of it all.
"I can't wait to see how kids react when they see me!" He said this as he waved at people passing by in cars as we drove to school.
But when we got to the playground and the kids stopped and stared, he moved in closer to me. His gelatin moves stiffened and he tucked under my arm as a pair of Mario Brothers pointed and said he was too spooky.
My alien-boy got shy. And maybe a little embarrased. I tried to pull him out of it, but he waved off my attempts. When the bell rang, he waved off his friends as well as they tried to touch his wig and tug at his finger tips. It didn't go the way he envisioned.
It wasn't the kind of encounter he planned. I hope when I go back to pick him up, he sees it all differently. I hope he's warmed up to the weirdness of his costume and the fabulousness of the opportunity to be mysterious and funny and a little creepy all at once. I hope he's found his way back home in his costume.
We will go to a party and then trick-or-treating with too many kids on a street too crowded with parents and wagons and strollers and chaos. Then his dad will arrive, surely dressed to match, and I will snap a thousand more photos of us all. It will be cold and too soon we will be ready to call it a night, no matter how much candy is in the bucket and how much more the other kids are up for.
I will whisper to him that he is so him. And that even swathed from top to toe in alien green, I see the boy he is and I see who he is becoming and I see the part that connects it all and will stay true, year after year, get-up after get-up, change after change.