Thursday, October 19, 2006

Novembers

November is right around the corner - the month that I loathe in a way that makes me want to lock my doors, shut the lights, and hole up for 30 days of watching nothing but The E True Hollywood Story and eating Cheez-Its.

Everything bad happens in November, I am convinced. It's hard to believe that a month generally reserved for cornocopias and gourds, thankfulness and turkey, tweeds and tights can strike such fear in me.

The only deaths I have personally encountered have all happened in November. The first of which was losing a new friend at Brandeis, a mere three months in to school. All who have been touched by the torture of knowing what happened to Jeremy do not need to relive it on my blog where it would neither be effectively re-told or paid tribute. But it all happened in the bizarre seasonal backdrop of November - sun shining, leaves turning, getting ready for holiday frocks and fervor. I think about this time very infrequently - because it is a sickening memory. Also, ever the fiction writer and reviser, I do believe that I could have prevented this accdient had I been blessed with a bolder spirit as an 18 year old when it came to boys. Hours before IT happened, I had my hand on a doorknob that would have lead me to his room for an evening of not much more than flirtation I am sure because I was a yeshiva girl, after all. I can see myself with the hand on the knob of the dorm known as Scheffries, the "should I or should'nt I" mantra in my head, rehearsing first lines and reasons why I was there. I never made it inside. But was later convinced that had I pushed through that door, my company (or at least my tight jeans) would have been infinitely more compelling than the ride that ended up being his last. Or maybe I would have gone too. Who the hell knows. It is because of this that I almost have a heart attack whenever my phone rings in the middle of the night or if someone wakes me too suddently. Still.

The next year, almost the same time, another friend from Brandeis died in a car accident. He was a lovely boy, really. David. I like to remember the fact that three months into a friendship that was really based on borrowing class notes and gum, I realized that he thought my name was Wendy. It's easy to happen, really, how often do you use a person's name in discourse? It sounds formal. So he must have misheard me the first time and then I was stuck, three months in - it seemed embarassing to correct. So I would even *gasp* answer to "Wendy", much to the hysterical delight of my friends when I told them the pickle I was in. Somehow he figured it out - probably because he began dating a friend of mine - but it was pretty funny. I also like to remember that he was one of those always smiling types who was genuinely concerned whenever I was despairing that year that he died (which was often). These are better memories than the fact that when I learned of his death I was telemarketing Brandeis students for UJA (not a fun job). Or that Denise promptly vomited into the toilet, which was the first time I knew that shock could bring about a physical reaction.

November 2001, I lost my grandmother. I should have been prepared, because it was November, after all. And she had suffered a stroke two months before. There were no words -- really. I quoted Bette Midler in my eulogy, otherwise speechless. We had a pseudo Thanksgiving that year, because when you are grieving you always think those rituals will help and they almost never do. We sat around my uncle's sagging table, part shiva, part stuffing. His girlfriend brought candy apples -- plump and gleaming, coated with rainbow sprinkles and all things carnival. I still haven't forgiven her.

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