You can feel it in the air and sense it in the aura that surrounds you. The world has tilted off its axis, the stars are misaligned. The first few mornings you awake to find a pit in your stomach. You soak in caffeine thinking a restless sleep is to blame, but coffee only sits like lead in your gut. Air feels thick in your lungs and an alarm deep inside rings silently. You move forward as if the world is not crumbling down around you because as far as you can see, hear, smell, and taste it’s not. Not yet.
The cursed misalignment of our universe is always in October. That month when ghouls and goblins come out, when witches cast their spells and spirits haunt us all. Maybe the curse is caused by the haunting of our past sins coming back to find us. The ones we have shoved away and hid, the ones that have accumulated. Is it the petance we pay in observance of Yom Kippur? The answers for our misdeeds. It is the end of our soul’s fiscal year and all balances must be cashed out and accounted for. Whatever the reason October is a curse. It is a month that brings with it illness, divorce, goodbyes, destruction.
The curse of October always seems to creep slowly behind us. It slips from our memory each year until once again the subtle cracks in the universe around us start to make themselves known. It will be a still too warm evening, a remnant of lingering summer. An orange hue of moonlight will illuminate the deck set you lounge on with your friends. Sipping wine you exchange stories of husbands, children, work until after her second glass Kate bluntly shares that Dan moved out last weekend. The kids think he’s away on business, they’re telling them on Saturday after soccer. It’s not shock you feel. It’s unease. It’s misalignment. It’s a curse.
This year is no different. Kate’s son is lashing out, Dan’s refusing to pay alimony. Tanya’s sudden health scare from the summer has turned into heart surgery in the fall. Illness will plague someone. It always does. There was the year of meningitis, when a virus attacked my spine, then my brain, and eventually my eyes. The recovery passing from October, through autumn, then winter, and into spring. There was the year of pneumonia when the girls were in the radiology department for chest x rays back to back. Who and what will it be this time? Is there a vaccine we can search out now to shield ourselves?
If I pray hard enough, if I fast long enough will my sins be overlooked this year? Will October still serve to punish? I feel it already, the shift of the tectonic plates, the fractures that are opening all around. Can I see the cracks if I actually find the courage to search them out, or am I willfully blind to them? Perhaps this year I will hold my breath and close my eyes tight. If I don’t acknowledge the curse, do not speak of it aloud, is it still there?