Friday, August 31, 2007

September Days

September comes around again, and with it the knowledge of what was happening a year ago at this time, and a year before that. I measure my life in cycles, annual ones, monthly ones…this time it’s a second degree detachment, my remembrance of the disillusionment I experienced 350 some-odd days ago. How things change.

September of 2006 found me humming the Modern Skirts’ “September Days” with a furrowed brow. The words circulated through my head like so:
“September days are the nicest days of the year
Everything changes and green turns to brown in your eyes
Anticipating anxiety and disbelief
September days are the greatest days of the year
...I'll be painting the windows of your hotel
Aaaahhh” followed by a bouncy piano sequence reminiscent of cabaret music.
And so on.

Back then I was measuring. I was craning my neck 180 degrees to the left and seeing how I had felt the previous Fall when “all this” had begun. By “all this” of course I meant the relationship that was disintegrating around me at the time. That’s all the “this” my brain had room for. I was looking backward and remembering how wonderful it had all been when it started, the twelfth of September witnessing our first kiss in the wee hours of the morning on a dark couch in his living room, the way I seemed almost to swirl bodily in the progressively cooling air I was so swept off my feet. We giggled and stared into each other’s eyes. The leaves fell and everything was bathed in violently beautiful colors and he was violently beautiful to me, and I felt violently beautiful, too. I remember surveying my ungainly happiness with a kind of suspicion, the knowledge that something’s gotta give, that this joyful nonsense wasn’t the stuff real life was made of. The time between last September and the one before watched as we loved and grew annoyed, squabbled, laughed, made passive-aggressive comments, cooked together, traveled abroad, drank, read, watched movies, sang songs a major third apart, frowned at textbooks, frowned at friends, frowned at ourselves, rocketed toward an eventuality that seemed only to include us. Late summer was hot and we forced affection, napping in the muggy daze that had become our togetherness. His bed felt too warm all the time, the room trapping all our restless heat inside until we stewed in it. And still I clawed at him, wrapped my fingers around his arm and dug my nails in. The year has him stamped, scribbled, painted all over it. They are Siamese twins, the year and him. All the things, pieces of myself I acquired during that time, are pieces of him whether he ever knew it or not.

As September approached, the heat and the humming overpowered me, and I recognized more than anything that my feet were a little too firmly planted on the ground. I was swept away by nothing, and these did not feel like the greatest days of the year.

September melted into October. The days finally cooled slightly, but I wore short sleeves the night it ended. I got in my car and drove away, the days of wailing at him concluded, only to give way to days of wailing on my own. And that was it.

September begins tomorrow, and with it comes “anticipating anxiety and disbelief,” but not disillusionment. The song never speaks of whether the anticipation is ever fulfilled. I think not. Anticipation at such a level can never truly be lived-up to—at least not in my schema-driven universe. When I look back one year ago, I shake my head almost imperceptibly with downcast eyes. The only similarity it poses with two years ago is that yet again I felt like flying. Only this time, it was with the disappointment that flowed from me with such force I thought I might lift off from the ground and disappear forever.

Maybe this year i'll be painting the windows of my own hotel.

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