I’ve taken the words of T.S. Eliot to heart over the years. April is the cruelest month, from my experience.
Two years ago this week, I was saying goodbye to my last girlfriend, who had woken up something inside of me I thought might never come alive again. It wasn’t meant to be, even though she renewed my faith that you could meet someone on a summer evening, start dating them, fall in love, and be crazy about each other for almost a year. Not many people get that, and I’ve had it twice. I lost them both in April.
In just a few days, my daughter will be 19 years old. I haven’t spoken with her in three and a half years. I haven’t spoken with my oldest since April 4, 2016. I could list about a dozen other shitty moments of my life that have accumulated into Aprils all throughout my years. It’s a month to be skipped. A dead month, where the leaves aren’t even out on the trees yet.
Maybe that explains the funk I’ve been in. April is weighing hard upon me lately and like muscle memory, all of those sorrows are like the pain of an old wound. The grey skies and flurries. The naked trees and brown grass. Even just the way the air smells or the way the stars linger in the sky, with Orion just now reaching the western horizon at the beginning of night.
I remember an April day from a long time ago. A date with my first love. A perfect day. We started at the Denver Botanical Gardens on a day when almost nothing had been planted. She told me a secret about herself, something she had only shared with me at the time. I don’t know if she ever shared it with anyone else. Sitting there on a bench together amid the winterkilled flowers of last year, she cried happy tears. We went to the museum and stole kisses underneath the dinosaur skeletons. She talked about how she wanted to travel the world with me as we looked at dioramas of polar bears and seals together. We kissed for hours in City Park, using our long coats like a privacy tent. We thought we were cool. We had gyros at a dive restaurant on Colfax, and then drove to Golden to see the railroad museum. We never made it inside. Instead we kissed in her car in the parking lot until they locked the gates. Then we went to Westminster and watched the re-release of the Lion King in the theatre, finishing up the evening with more necking in her car until she drove home and I went back to my apartment alone, swimming in those feel-good chemicals the whole drive. It’s one of those days I wish I could relive over and over.
The next April, I was saying goodbye to her in the cold rain under a cottonwood tree in another park. The Hale-Bopp comet was still riding high in the sky with its twin tail. She didn’t want to get married or have kids, and I did. That was 25 years ago.