The cool weather brings back three memories. In chronological order: one of the first Halloweens I ever missed, one of a lover I cried for, and one of my first drug experiences. And always, the cool weather reminds me of all Halloweens, it having been my favorite holiday as a child.
Bordering between a cool summer day’s temperature and what would be felt and instantly labeled as the coming of winter, is this cool weather that arrived yesterday. It surprised me as I awoke and found my dining room to be slightly chilled. And with the new weather’s surprising arrival came the influx of memories, and if I had to pick a side, they are unwelcome. But still they come, and I can feel them in my solar plexus, causing tight, choking melancholia.
I’d imagine animals sense the coming of fall in a similar way.
I can’t remember how old I was, but the first Halloween I missed was when I was very young, though by age and physical appearance I was not as young as I should have been to have wept so hard; it was less than ten years ago. My mother forbade me to trick-or-treat, on account of my poor, or at least mediocre, school grades.
I remember looking out my window with the shade halfway down, the golden sunlight coming in, and crying audibly and bitterly as my neighbors and friends congregated on the street in costume, maybe wondering where I was, and their parents then leading them off to hunt for candy door-to-door.
An awkward memory by my standards, but I’m sure the opposing party in this story appreciates it for its beautiful sincerity, and conceitedly enough I hope they cherish it: A candid moment, shared in our local park on a bench atop a hill. No one else was around, at least not visibly, and while I don’t remember the conversation preceding my outburst, I finally confessed through imminent tears, “I don’t want to lose you.”
I then cried in her lap. It was Halloween and I was in middle school.
Very alone and in high school, it was in the same park, but in a different locale and with a completely different feel altogether. My first experience with marijuana. In an area meant for many a chess player (although none I ever saw), I sat behind a checkered stone table amidst some curling vines and foliage. It was a cold day in fall and I was in a light jacket. There was little privacy, and cars passed by not too far off. Nervous and paranoid, I took out a small bag of extremely potent, smelly and arguably laced kush.
I smoked it quickly out of a crusty black one-hitter (a small metal pipe resembling a crack pipe in shape and size and, ultimately, the smoker’s demeanor when in use) that I had borrowed from the seller of the weed; a habitual smoker himself with long hair and stubble to boot, occasionally wearing a hat bearing Rastafarian colors.
After inhaling the smoke and coughing vigorously, the drug began to take effect not a minute later and not at a more inconvenient time when I had walked over to a nearby deli to buy a drink. Paying at the counter, blotches of color began to cover the cashier’s face. I remember clearly: a bright yellow, scratchy blotch, it’s shape not unlike that of a country or state.
Later, as the images in my school textbooks fractaled before me, my mother would ask if I was alright, to which I responded that I may be coming down with a cold; and I certainly looked ill . The poor dear, she did not deserve the following years of drug-related shenanigans, and perhaps I didn’t either.
All just memories of harrowing Autumns. The season is not to blame.