In August, you enter what Douglas Adams called the “long, dark teatime of the soul,” that languid patch of nothingness that fosters a curious mix of complacency and anxiety. In Chapel Hill, the days were endless and deliriously hot; we made sure not to spend too much time by ourselves, lest the inner demons contribute to the rot that had already desiccated our self-esteem.
I think I will die in August. I feel like I foresaw it as a young kid, wandering around the streets of Cedar Rapids on my bike, the sun making yellow patterns in the bushes as it threatened to set earlier each day. I saw some sort of existential maw open up, something quiet, still and hazy let me know there would be a day, perhaps 90 years from then, when I would be looking at an August day as my last.
You must keep moving. Make it to September each year, and you might be okay. Three years ago, in 2001, Tessa and I both remarked that the city was behaving strangely, as if something wasn’t quite right. We saw Alex and Wendi at a store in midtown and all of us remarked that the mood was weird, very still, as if the town was holding its breath. We thought it might have something to do with the internet bubble bursting so terribly, but a few days later some planes hitting the towers downtown answered questions we didn’t know we asked.
I have cleaned out the barn, both literally and metaphysically. It took all day, but now you can see the pool table, and the adornments from last year’s wedding look awesome again. I am throwing away all of my socks and half of my boxer shorts. I am finishing my next screenplay. I have to un-tether myself from what August wants to do to me.