“My grandmother’s birthday was today,” he says.
“Mmm,” I reply, “My grandma’s was on the third.”
“My parent’s wedding anniversary would’ve been this month, too.”
We do this quiet back and forth each August.
August is our emotional fiscal year end, if there were such a thing. We review all that our hearts were invested in. There is a little bit of a ripple effect that extends out to lap the shore of the living. Isn’t your brother’s birthday this month? No, no, that’s next month. September. But this is how August goes for us, from the minute we tack back July.
There are notations, hearts and smiley faces to mark birthdays and anniversaries. A cake with candles and flowers and a banner is crammed into a little square announcing Michael's birthday. Move forward three squares and our wedding anniversary is similarly illustrated. Hastily drawn flowers tumble out of bounds.
The highlighting and notations are for the living, the quiet remembrances over breakfast, the little homilies, are for those who have left us. Next year I will make an exception. Next year I’ll mark the 18th with a tiny little airplane flying into the sunset. Next year I will say over breakfast that I can’t believe my dad’s been gone a year already. A year.
But it's not a year yet, it's just a week and I feel exahausted. Everyday, since the 18th, I've traveled the entire terrain of my life - alternating through darkness, then blinding light. My mind goes until I come to something familiar and pause; a memory, good or bad it doesn't matter. I search for any memory that includes him and start again.