Halloween in Sheepshead Bay

The day I visit Sheepshead Bay, there is a storm brewing.

An unforgiving wind whips down the streets and grabs onto all that it can—store banners, tree branches, discarded trash. But many families are out and about on the main streets, parents grasping the hands of their small children. It is Halloween, and they are trick-or-treating. This is a fact I had forgotten, until I saw the Grim Reaper waltz into a convenience store.

The sky is at once empty and heavy. It seems to press down on everything. The opaque surface of the bay reflects it, trembling in the churning wind. Swans preen themselves on planks of wood. Their open wingspans are shocking stretches of pure white. Gulls fly in circles overhead, black outlines against the darkening sky.

On the piers, it is empty. Boats are still, and waiting—for who, I can’t tell. Perhaps for someone who isn’t coming back. I can only hear water lapping against the dock and I can almost forget there is an entire neighborhood behind me, an entire city.

Returning back onto the main streets throws me back into the cadence of human life. Children run down the sidewalk, bright yellow leaves rustling around their feet.

A young boy shouts, “Oh my God, a Lamborghini!” in sheer amazement. In his excitement, he gets plastic candy wrappers slip out of his tiny hand.

“Thats gonna go into the bay,” says the older girl with him, scolding his foolishness with the righteous attitude of a big sister.

The wind picks the wrappers up, along with everything already in its grasp, and carries them out of sight. The boy acts as if he doesn’t hear her, and the kids keep running. The cars in 5pm traffic honk and splash through puddles left by the day’s rain. They keep moving, the lights keep glowing, mother tongues lilt out of barber shops and nail salons and grocery stores as if they too are carried by the wind. The bay stays still, keeps waiting.

Video Still, October 2019
Video Still, October 2019

–Taylor Stout

~ by taylorstoutmcc on November 2, 2019.