Most days, there’s a film of normalcy, a delicate and transparent layer atop my life. If I don’t mess with it, as long as I don’t peel it back to examine, then all will stay contained, keeping that dark liquid sloshing around the bowl from seeping out.
But give me a cloudy morning alone, moody piano melodies creaking out of a Bluetooth speaker, a lonely Christmas tree twinkling in its corner, and I feel all those feelings again. I’m teleported to thirteen months prior. That boulder on my chest, that breath caught in my throat, those tears sliding out in warm predestined paths.
That deep, heavy sadness.
In Novembers of the past,
I lost a sister,
An uncle (this year),
And you, always you — I lose over and over again;
I step toward you but instead fall through trapdoors that have no end.
This November, I held my breath and white-knuckled my way through the month. The anniversary of your death came and I didn’t get dressed the whole day. The uncle died.
Grief felt like an enemy I was boxing in the dark. I ducked assaults, hoping I’d miss the jabs at my head and stomach, never knowing where the next one was coming from.
All in all, I made it. On December 1st, I took a greedy gulp of air and stepped back toward the light.
I had a feeling so peculiar
That this pain would be for evermore
Hey December, guess I’m feeling unmoored
Can’t remember what I used to fight for
I rewind thе tape but all it does is pause
On thе very moment, all was lost
I survived November.
(I did, didn’t I?)
(Then why does today, December 12th, feel like all thirty days of November compressed into one?)