22 August 2012

The Trouble with Fall, Part 1

Me and BFF at a college girl slumber party. Shut up.
And yes there are more pics and NO you cannot see them.

I'm sorry I was gone so long, did you miss me? I've been trying to keep myself to a 5- posts-a-week goal but as you can see I have fallen short most of the time. I say this out loud to you so you can keep me on track, so it's your fault. You've really been slacking. I've also decided to pretend there are thousands of you following my blog and hanging on every word I say which is a little counter productive because sometimes I buckle under pressure and so I need you to stop pressuring me ok?

My best friend posted a status update on Facebook today that was an observation of the wee beginnings of fall approaching in New Mexico. Here in LA, land of the sunny and scorching concrete jungle, we have no such little winks and inklings of this elusive season. Sometimes we get all the way to December before the weather decides to catch up with the turn of time. And even then...well, just "even then". Wouldn't want to make it sound enticing so more people move here and start smelling up this beautiful paradise I live in...

But even in Kerry land the blatant, audacious absence of autumn doesn't matter much. That crafty season has a way of gripping the most quiet, protected hidden pieces of my soul and memory. When I read BFFs update I didnt really relate at all because there is no sign of fall anywhere in my world. But I did still have this almost imperceptible twinge of fear at the bottom of my gut, and it was gone as quick as it came; but it did its job, and now its begun: my melancholic dance with fall has begun.

Let me explainbrieflybecause fall hasnt even started yet and Im sure there will be more to come, more melancholy, more hollowness. Hell I might even treat you all to a little of what I like to call November Poetry from my past. You should be so lucky.

I was 19 and it was August in New Mexico. My second year of college was approaching and I had just had a ridiculously awesome summer living with a few girlfriends in a house on our own. It was that first summer of freedom and independence and becoming. Becoming an adult but still without many of the adult responsibilities. Life was good, summer was good.

And one morning I went outside and I saw that some of the leaves had begun to fall. The sun looked a little different that morning, its position in the sky was strange to me and also strangely noticeable. Why would I be aware of and concerned about the angle of the sun? But I was concerned. I was concerned about the leaves strewn all over the ground and littering the hood of my car. It made me downright uncomfortable. Hollow. So I grabbed a rake and a trash bag and went to work ridding the yard of the evidence of Autumns beginning.

This day marked the beginning of an uneasiness that was with me the entire season long. The cooler the weather, the more leaves that fell and the more the sun drifted North throughout the days the worse it got. I started to feel like there was an unwanted event coming there was this growing sense of impending doom. I consulted with my spiritual guru at the time: my Stepfather, because it was starting to feel like a spiritual problem. And by that I mean premonition. Look, I wont get into it, but it happened before when I was 13 and my father died. Ill tell you about that later, but right now what I want you to know is Ive become very pragmatic and practical in my old age. And by that I mean skeptical. So I dont talk about things like premonitions lightly. When I was 19 it was much more in the realm of possibility for me to be having some kind of psychic experience. These days? Pardon me if laundry and dishes and budgets and goldfish crackers and dog puke on the floor keep me a little too busy to be talking to dead people or seeing the future.

My first main stage role in college:
Silver Girl. And my beautiful friend
Daric. photo taken late October 1992
Anyway, I was told it was likely not a premonition because it was very indirect. It was a developing fear and melancholy about fall, or about an event in fall but thats just not specific enough. My Stepfather advised me to go buy some fall sweaters with nice fall colors of dark reds and browns. Blanket yourself gently in fall to help yourself accept its imminent arrival. So I did. And I did start to feel better. And right about the full onset of fall I gave in to it and the sense of impending doom turned into just this dull throb at the back of my head, and I found some modicum of peace. This was around October 20th, 1992. I was in my first college main stage production so I let myself be busy with that. That and shopping for sweaters and house hunting (an attempt to salvage friendships that didn't really work until later.)

On Thursday November 5th I was sitting in front of my oven in my dark house full of packed boxes that I still lived in with my girlfriends. Our friendships were starting to fracture a little not enough to splinter us forever (one is still my BFF to this day and I have a fun back and forth banter with the other on Facebook these days. There is still much love between all of us todaybut you know how it goesyoure 19, your personality is changing faster than your boyfriend choice.) Anyway, yes, sitting in front of my oven, turned to 500 degrees because our asshole landlord hadnt turned on the heat yet. And ok, maybe it was because I was reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky and it was dark and cold outside and my friendships were beginning to fracture a littleor just maybe as I sat there reading that awful novel and getting nowhere with it because really I was thinking about my friend Robert who hadnt shown up for playwriting class that night, maybe that was it. Maybe that was really what was going on. I cant say I remember today why I would have been concerned about him going missing for a few days but for some reason it was an issue. A big issue. And there was a small circle of close knit friends who knew it. We knew something was wrong. So we waited. I waited. In front of a hot oven reading Dostoyevsky I waited to hear about why my friend was missing. And I knew suddenly that I was waiting. Waiting to hear about him. And I also suddenly realized my irrational struggle with Fall the previous 3 months was about to be explained.

Im sorry. I promised myself (and you) that this post would be brief and its not. And I need to gather my thoughts to tell the rest of this story properly. Ill tell you about it tomorrow. I promise. But I cant promise it will be short. Thanks for listening (reading.)


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