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.

Halloween

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.

Love

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.

Drug

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.

“Who goes there?” my landlord questioned playfully, hiding what was most likely minor annoyance at being interrupted. It was ten o’clock at night on a Tuesday and as he stood in the door I could faintly hear the TV from upstairs.

“I’m sorry, Mister B!” I replied, feeling like a dumb child. “I seemed to have locked myself out!” And in almost the same breath: “Also, the garage door is jammed.”

He then hung his head, feigning a more annoyed response with a sigh that bore both real and comic distress; a reaction that came with the temperance that only a patient father of three could have mastered, imaginably through much practice.

“Let’s go take a look”, he said, or something to that effect, and then crossed the threshold of the relatively clean doorway onto the porch in ankle socks soon to be sullied by the outer elements. The wearer seemed to neither notice this detail nor care, even as he came down the porch steps and set foot on concrete. I can’t remember if he had the obligatory barefoot-on-pavement waddle or tip-toe, but either way, nothing short of a cactus would have caused a misstep.

I followed behind, and, having shoes on, know I had no waddle of my own, but nonetheless felt like a naive duckling behind a determined drake, having perhaps destroyed the nest in some idiotic way.

Prior to the garage ordeal, I had went grocery shopping, commuting to the supermarket by way of racing bike. As I left the house, I couldn’t help wondering what it was I forgot. I then realized it was my bike chain, and quickly retrieved it. But it was only later, after having purchased two steaks, chicken breast, a gallon of iced tea, half a gallon of tomato juice, spaghetti and jar of tomato sauce did I realize that I was carrying a good deal of bags and a backpack would have been really quite useful.

I then mentally crossed my fingers and hoped I could get away with riding with it all on my handlebars, but a minor detail seemed to prevent that, at least in the traditional style: the handlebars on a racing bike curve down. I stared at my bike for almost a minute, confronted with a round hole and a square peg. I suspected a man not very far from me, leaning against the window of a pizzeria, to be watching it all, but after looking over at him again I realized that the empty space in the air before him was thankfully of much more importance. We did exchange a brief glance, however, but his dark, far-away eyes, reminiscent of a hard-drug user’s or perhaps of a small animal’s, saved me the trouble of having to nervously smile with embarrassment.

Finally I put my groceries over the brake cables, hoping I would not be left with a fixie braking system by the end of the night. It seemed to work, and after a few push-offs, I was on my way. Fortunately, the distance was not great, and I took my time, monitoring my groceries as they brushed against the spokes, which weakened the fragile membrane of one of the bags. I tried to correct this problem by leaning to one side, but naturally it was impossible to ride in such a manner without driving into traffic, and so I would have to resume my original posture, only to lean again; I repeated this, bee-lining, hoping I could minimize the chances of what turned out to be inevitable.

A noticeable popping sound, onomatopoeically a “pah” or a “pwah” (considering it was from an air-sealed jar), resounded, which was followed immediately, if not spontaneously, by the sound of shattering glass.

Believe it or not, I still don’t consider myself a poet, despite what I then uttered to myself: “the sauce is a loss.” I do not know where these words came from, but they seemed to be reflexive; If I had dropped a baguette, I most likely would have pronounced it deceased with equal rhythm.

I made it home, imagining myself limping. I made sure to take inventory of my groceries the moment I got in, in hopes that if by any chance I had been hemorrhaging food all the way (as I did not dare to stop during the moment of crisis, should anyone be watching), I at least had the steaks and the now-bereaved cousin, tomato juice.

Fortunately it was all there, sans sauce, and I then made my way to the garage to put my bike away and proceed to cook myself a late dinner.

And then I jammed the garage door.

I had also forgotten my keys in the house, so I was forced to ring the bell despite many cartoonish tries involving my full body weight at fixing the garage without waking or bothering anyone. I kept expecting to see someone looking out their window to see who was burglarizing their next door neighbor, but no one seemed interested.

Eventually, the handle of a hedge trimmer proving useless, Mr. B then pried the door loose with a crowbar and small push from myself. I apologized for the hundredth time and we parted ways, having bonded as landlord and tenant.

I quit my job yesterday. I meant to in person, and to give a two week’s notice, but after my bus was an hour late and I had been suppressing the urge to pee for an hour as well, I quickly made my way back home where I broke off my engagement with RetailMart via phone. I won’t deny that I saw the bus coming at that very moment, but the decision had been made; or rather, seeing the bus and knowing the hour-long commute that awaited me, was the catalyst for my decision.

I wrote out the break up on an envelope with a nearby lead-pencil prior to the phone call, then reciting my speech, even rehearsing the line: “Hello, may I speak to HR?”

Here is the resignation speech, verbatim (according to envelope):

        “I wanted to do this in person, but I waited for my bus for over an hour and it just wasn’t coming, so I’m afraid I can’t make it today.

        I am giving my notice of resignation as of today and will not be coming in tomorrow. I appreciate the opportunity to work for this company & with this team & maybe I will again the future

        I would like to email a letter of resignation, is there an address I can send it to?

        Once again, thank you.”

After I had gotten most of it out over the phone, trying my best not to sound as though I were reading a script, I trailed off with a “well, uh, yes” and let out a deepish breath, but through the lips as though blowing out smoke, absent-mindedly into the receiver of my cell phone.

There was a silence, the brevity of which I was grateful for, and then a poetic disyllabic acknowledgement which on paper would double as a question: “okay?”

Then what followed was a less tense and consequently less focused or noteworthy closing speech, to which the reply was an “okay, I’ll tell them (upper management?)” and then after an apology from myself that was, by all intentions professional, there was a cryptic “good luck” and my parting reply which consisted of a stunted double-goodbye and a “have a good day” that I can only hope was obliterated by the replacing of the corded phone in its cradle.

I half-believed that I would receive a phone call from one of the managers, who were, for lack of a better word, intimidating men, with business goatees.

But the day progressed normally. And today I slept until twelve in the afternoon.  I also have another job lined up, so all is well.