It took me an hour to get to her school. But then parking was a mess with so many visitors.

She sat facing the door with a slightly apprehensive look on her face. Three other kids who were waiting at their desks, looked to see if it was their relative who had arrived. I called out and waved at her, but, I don’t know, dressed in dark colors, or maybe having lost a bit of weight, she didn’t seem to recognize me. It was a little bittersweet seeing her sit there. I smiled.

Her face lit up. She raced for the door, shoving the traffic jam of kids out of the way and throwing her arms around me.

“You’re here! You’re here! I’m so glad you’re here!”

She showed me around while we waited for my sister.

I didn’t realize how expensive the burger would be, and they didn’t allow me to buy one without a pre-order at first, so used to not eating, I just didn’t buy anything. Dang it. I really need to make more money. Next time I’m just buying a burger. I don’t think people understand that I think twice about buying food out of habit not dieting.

In the courtyard, blankets were spread out, crowded with families from all the grades.

Two little girls, whose names I recognized from when I asked about her classmates were sitting without relatives.

I told the teacher the girls were welcome to sit with us if they’d like. I thought the kids would say no—I know it can be nice just to be invited,  I mean, at five, heck at any age, I’m not sure I’d be eager to sit with some strange family. . . wait. . . you eat with strangers all the time, yeah but I’m not—so I was actually surprised when they both nodded their heads and started to gather their lunches.

They had plenty to tell me. Their favorite cupcakes. Their favorite color. My niece was a little possessive at first, but seemed proud at the same time.

One of the girls pointed to a girl in a Sleeping Beauty costume and said that was her best friend.

“Oh,” I said.

There was an expectant look on her face.

“Uh, do you want to ask her if she wants to sit with us?” I asked.

There was a pause before she said very quietly, “Can you ask her?”

We were the blanket to be at.

I danced to Monster Mash (a 50s twist is correct for that I think), and a bunch of other songs my niece recognized as ones I’d played for her on Halloweens past. I chased the little princesses around and got chased myself. Their lunch, which I thought would be less than an hour, went until almost three. Thankfully no last minute voice auditions that day.

That made two Halloween parties for me this year. Two more than usual.

Well. I have an audition to record. Good night.