On Sunday there was a lunar eclipse of a blood moon. It had been cloudy all evening, so I didn't think it would be visible, but when I left the house at 9:30 pm to trudge grimly to campus, the skies had cleared and the moon -- orange and smudged with darkness -- was there.
So I listened to Night on Bald Mountain as I walked through the night and watched the moon hanging above me. Behind my department building is a dark little area -- grass and a decorative pond, shielded by trees on three sides and completely without lampposts or lights. It would be a great place to commit a murder, and it was there that I stretched out on the cool grass and crossed my arms behind my head and watched the eclipse proceed, bit by bit, to the sounds of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho soundtrack.
I was on Day 4 or 5 of severe sleep deprivation, and all day, if I moved my head too suddenly, I had experienced a split second of vertigo. I experienced those moments of dizziness again as I lay there, and I stretched out further -- with the voice of my old yoga teacher trilling vertebra by vertebra as I did so -- and as gray clouds drifted across the corrupted face of the moon, I thought, And this, too, shall pass.
I realized this week my current depressed funk lines up precisely with the anniversary of last year's depressed funk, and the agent of my low-level despair is, in fact, identical.
Last year, I clutched little crumbs of comfort to my heart when I could and spent a lot of time lying to myself about said agent's motivations. And crying by myself. Admittedly last year's fall also featured "seasonal affective disorder" and "living alone, the worst idea," so there were some contributing factors. But last October was generally wretched, and its only bright spots were a) a glorious phantasm, b) apple-picking, and c) getting very drunk with M. in the worst bar in our neighborhood.
This year, two-thirds of those comforts are cut off from me (although drinking with M. remains an evergreen occupation). This year, I want to be wiser and stronger and squint into what is, in fact, the identical sad-making scenario based on the identical sad-making circumstances and whisper, "Nope, not this time."
These are the things I want.
This afternoon, as I wandered into the library in a state of general dishevelement, I ran into B., who was coming up the stairs with Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Risky Business in hand.
"Hey!" I said. "When's your test?"
"It was this morning," B. said. "It didn't go very well."
"Oh, well, I'm sure it was...better than you think..."
He shrugged. "Can I have a hug? I think I really need a hug right now."
"Sure," I said, glancing at the coffee cup in my left hand and the umbrella in my right. "Sure, come on in here, honeybunny."
He hugged me gingerly and then stepped back. "Was that a weird request? I'm sorry if it was a weird request."
"No, dude, it was fine," I said. "Don't worry about your test any more. Go watch your movies."
He put his hand on the door and then paused, turning back to me. "Do you want to come to the H. tonight? Some of us are going..."
"Um," I said, because this was clearly a group outing from which I had been excluded, though B. had not realized it. "No, no, I can't, sorry."
"Okay," he said, peacefully oblivious. "See you later."
Then I went down to my carrel and rested my forehead against the cool desk and thought, This month is going to be wretched too, I see.
Then I made plans to go hang out with my brother.