Mistakes Were Made

(originally posted September 18th, 2014)

Is it ever too late to start a new year? Even when the leaves drop dead, the grass dries up, and the schoolboys and schoolgirls eye the pumpkins in the classroom, knowing they’re hopeful beacons of Halloween? Mistakes, goes the refrain, were made. Manias contaminated entire populaces in the spring, the cursed spring, the spring that was just extended winter, premature summer, so enough about spring. Summer seemed an aggravating wait to now, this moment, this fall. Whose fault was it, this delay? Who really cared?

Catherine, Catherine, her over-formal name, she introduced me to Todd, who meant the world to me, but it was a flat world, a mistaken concept of the world. New Years Eve. “What’s your resolution? Maybe resolve,” and her hiss was a mix of disdain and seductive entreaty, “to move on from the past five years.” Only five? Was misery counted in years? So she shoved Todd in my face, and that was how the last months of winter were wasted.

The cat days of winter, that’s how I noted them. Now I approached winter’s front like a weary feline crawling back to the dumpster after the butcher warned me away. That’s a month from now, and maybe a snowflake time-traveled through a freak December wormhole and hit my October face this morning, causing me to giggle. Maybe quantum mechanics works that way, though my physicist roommate doubts it.

As a child, I wanted a vampire boyfriend. I wanted him to curl in smoke through the classroom door’s crack, wanted him to whisper at me the answers for the test. I’d keep an umbrella on me at all times in case he showed up and needed shielding from the sun. He’d flash his fangs at the neighbor man who always looked at me funny. I’d hang out with his friends, the ghouls, the goblins, the Frankenstein monsters. They, I was sure, would always invite me to their birthday parties.

I didn’t want real vampires though, I wanted Hollywood ones, but fate didn’t feel the same way. They sucked and sucked, forever sucking, so I left my body, let them nibble on an empty vessel. For so long, I’ve looked for another host.

The kids stream out of their institutional boxes, wondering what the point of lessons were today. Adults like to pretend their naughty nurse costumes and ironic fraternity outfits at work counts as Halloween, but youngster know better. They know that bright daylight suspends the celebration. At night, mistakes will be made. Toilet paper on the trees of the wrong home. The wrong route through the wrong neighborhood that gets everyone lost. Visits to the wrong house, the ones that offer Bible tracts instead of candy, which, very nice, but why remind people of January’s regrets? Why are affairs expected to be in order when our local star can barely crawl into the sky?

He speaks a Transylvanian accent, and maybe it’s fake, but the party invite is real. He smells of body spray, like he’s covering up the stench of the undead. Laughing, I accept. Even if it’s a mistake, that’s what tonight is for.

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