January is sand that blisters your feet from the heat, so you’re wading down a river letting the cool water rush green and brown, soothing your feet. It is the sticky and soft snuggles from your babies, the comfort of having them there curled up on your chest. It is the midnight kiss, the one that is rushed and hard and leaves a question instead of a promise. It’s tradition shadowed in sadness, and the familiar with a sour tinge. Lots of goodbyes, but also quite hope. This is only the beginning.
February is the lingering burn and salt crusted hair. It is hard work but with good outcomes. Pen stained hands and freshly washed denim. A white room with green plants, everything clean and crisp and perfectly in place. It is a bright coloured jumpsuit with dark lipstick and a pursed lip exhale. Almost a whistle, almost a song. A soft goodbye.
March is clinging tight to summer. Spilling sour cream and guac and cheese on the beach, licking sand and chilli beans off my fingers while I watch her dive clean into the ocean. It is the new swing of things, actually taking notes. It’s sculpture designed to be made with technology that doesn’t exist yet, a loud and hungry desperation for the future. And mostly it is this throw it all on kind of hope that somehow it is going to work out. The voucher for plane tickets is a promise of time, and a prayer somehow that can be enough.
April is quieter. A holiday where I sleep for 14 hours on the first day and am still groggy and still and silent for the rest. Application season holed up in my room, typing and copying and researching. Trying to try without trying too hard in case trying isn’t enough. Dark hair dye and a burnt caramel jacket. April is dark and it’s raining but I am eating ice cream with the girls I live with and we are holding on to each other, warm and familiar, in all of the cold.
May, my historic enemy. A new suit and fresh shirt, play acting confidence when really I have none. It is getting darker but that leaves room for some things: An old reoccurring flame, still flickering in a dark. Running across town clutching flowers in a falling apart dress. Watching my friends graduate in baby pink hoods; black sequins and fresh mixed cocktails with my family back home; a rain storm that washes the whole street clean. Fingers crossed.
June is a month of small miracles. A thick paper acceptance letter delivered to my door with a bottle of cheap champagne. A crisp lake with snowy mountains rising up in the background and tiny servings of gluten free crepes. A month of spaghetti bolognaise and pink scarves and five layers of mascara adding to the dark circles under eyes. Feeling snug curled up with you, watching tv that makes us both kind of laugh. Quiet trepidation, trying to make moments instead of just sitting in them. We’re all just so tired.
July is roti even though I am not allowed to eat it. Being the oldest at the bar, but also handling our drinks the best. Apple pie martinis and home cooked dinners. All of those take-for-granted in between moments: clean windows, coffee dates, laugh-crying about people I didn’t even know three months ago. Her tailored grey jacket, a dunkin’ donuts mocha, carving out familiar patterns into the most unexpected year. One garland of pink balloons.
August is building blocks. Tiny moments. A new girl with brown hair who looks at me like I have a clue. Familiar faces, and stories and throwaway comments that I pick up and pocket. Holding them close. Dancing with eyes closed, crop top, screaming over the bass. Crisp and cold, bundled up in one hundred layers with an itch in my fingers and a curl in my lip I can’t shake. Lip balm. Empty vitamin packets all over the floor. Arguing again.
September is special, in the way it always has been. Slow and intentional, with soft sunshine days that promise something more. Sad in a familiar way too, sweet scented flowers, ten missed calls. Clenched fists, painted nails, a long walk choking on words that have been a long time coming. It is almost cinematic, the cleanest ending to the messiest time.
October is delicate, fragile and soft. Watching the nights become lighter as we walk home. It is a tension headache sat hard against your temple, but also a sense of relief that pulses through your whole body. A tequila shot, a warm milo, a cold glass of water. You did that, you did that, you did that. Fried chicken and savoury soup with too much extra chilli. Red hot, burnt mouth and warm beer in plastic jugs. October is those people you depend on, but they don’t know it so they don’t ask anything from you. October is important.
November is tired eyes and a sore back and a lot of assignments. Snacks rushed, and crumbled in pockets. Plasters offering no protection from age worn blisters on my fingers. But November is also the promise of summer. Gaudy pink t-shirts and coloured sunglasses with long split end hair. It is a crowd crushed into a train, pressed body to body with strangers all of you tired and damp and buzzing off the same shared energy. A sparkly dress and a crown and that warm kind of rain where the whole world is just wet but you’re scream laughing into it anyway. It is fig candles and a mopped bathroom floor. Having time to slow down for a second, hold your hand for a second, forget for a second.
December is that Christmas song back on repeat. Watching a new Christmas party make their way drunkenly home in matching outfits, singing and holding each other. It is a quiet office, a lip dented from chewing, a lot of back and forth. There is hard work, but new patterns. A constant longing for something hot and alive, but also a strong sense of peace in the difficulty and the mundane. Like the things that are happening are doing so without me trying for them. It’s enough to just be here. Because there are new people who I can sit with here, there are chicken fajitas for dinner here, it feels like home here.