The Pink Cloud.
Thursday, October 1st.
I don’t have followthrough. That’s been pointed out to me no shortage of times. By my father, my grandmother, my aunts, uncles, strangers, a supervisor who only lasted a week…
The people in charge of the standardized tests back in 1996.
But I had an excuse that time. They pulled me out.
There was so much pink. Cups, ribbon, blanket, batteries—why did batteries have to be pink?
I learned you were sick two months earlier. I didn’t know how sick until that month. They told me it was something called “Breast cancer awareness month.” Until then, I only knew it as—
The month of leaves falling, sweaters, fluffy jackets out of your closet that always smelled so good, and candy. Also, inexplicably pink things.
I remember that you were sick. There was no doubting that. There was this thing that tested your lung strength in the house, and you weren’t so good. Of course, I was much worse, and you took me to the doctor, only to find out I’m just kind of a runt.
But it was kind of funny.
I remember you being rather annoyed that Dad wasn’t telling me much, more annoyed than when he got the hair dye wrong—you rocked that magenta.
I don’t remember seeing you lose any strength at all.
You did not lose any weight.
Your hair seemed finer, but that didn’t seem odd; you wore wigs often though so I didn’t know much. You told me that day, “Never cut your hair. You don’t know just how much power you have in your hair.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
So the day Dad pulled me out of class and told me you weren’t coming back home was a shock.
Pink everywhere. Ribbons, shirts, blankets, batteries. Awareness, they claim. I wanted to be less aware.
The ivory and whites of the funeral were almost a blessing. I remember very, very little.
This isn’t one of those “we’re mad at him and not telling him where we are” things. People should not be cold in a box. This is real.
Two weeks go missing in the middle.
“Halloween was her favorite—”
I’d never seen that look. Not from him. I’m going to be hit.
“We are not doing it this time.”
I shrink back. I spend the night playing Super Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts, a game about the undead.
It’s the first year I left a page of my journal unfinished, terrified that completing it meant losing it. I lost my follow-through.
I hate October. It’s cold.
You probably think that I’m being silly, Mother. But this pink cloud that follows me everywhere during this month—it’s like being back there.
I can’t even finish a stupid project to find a hundred things I like and talk about them.
If I could find you, I’d tell you about them. Maybe I will anyway.
You’ve missed a lot… and this month is hard enough for me to navigate as is.