Maya Sheth (she/her)/MiC.

We have reached that time of year

When the leaves change color 

And the wind sings a new tune.

A time affectionately labeled “spooky season”

With jack-o-lanterns lining the street

Skeletons loitering on lawns 

Fake blood dripping from windows

And a choir of screams to fill the emptiness of the night 

All meant to send your heart a racing 

Send a shiver down your spine 

Tighten that knot in your stomach 

Freeze your feet in place

It’s a fear that makes you hold your breath 

and pray to a god you may have never spoken to before

So while fall might be my favorite season

Spooky season is not

I have always been the paranoid sort

The scaredy cat 

The one who steers clear of any horror movie

And anything sinister 

So it really doesn’t take too much for my heart to beat out of my chest 

And my mouth to go dry

However, this year I’m quite proud of myself 

For conquering my biggest fear

For braving something far worse than ghouls, ghosts and goblins 

For walking through the most terrifying haunted house 

Set in a quiet suburb in Georgia 

There lies a house riddled with ghosts

Forgotten dreams roam the halls

Dead aspirations hide under the beds

And there I sit at the dining table with my father

Allow me to set the scene:

My mother prepared dinner

and the scent of home-cooked jollof rice filled the air

I am starving but I cannot eat

My brother is talking on and on about whatever it is high school boys talk about 

It is my last week at home before I go to school

I want to pay attention but I cannot

My leg is shaking under the table 

mocking (mimicking) the sound of my heartbeat 

The ghosts roaming the halls are whispering “tell him” 

So with confidence given to me from those who wished they held it in the past

and a voice covered in dust and cobwebs from years without use

I begin the conversation with my father

Trick or Treat?! 

Trick: I no longer want to finish university a year early 

and rush towards a future and a dream that was never mine to begin with

Treat: I am discovering that I would rather tell you “no” now than resent you later

Trick or Treat?!

Trick: I do not want to go to law school 

or Oxford

or be a diplomat 

Treat: There are so many things I do want to do and I would love to feel comfortable telling you about them

Trick or Treat?! 

Trick: My life choices might not make sense to you

Treat: My heart delights in your desire to know and understand your daughter 

in a world that is already changing much more rapidly than you would prefer 

Trick or Treat?!

Trick: There is an empty space that exists between who I am and who you want me to be

Treat: I’m gonna be okay 

Trick or Treat?!

Trick: I am not your perfect first gen daughter

Treat: I am providing you with the opportunity to get to know who I actually am 

Trick or Treat?! 

Trick: I will not allow my dreams to be buried alive in this haunted house 

Treat: We’re gonna be okay 

While others were putting on their masks during the holiday season

I was taking off mine 

MiC Columnist Sarah Oguntomilade can be reached at soguntom@umich.edu.