A Year to You

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A Year to You

By Dana Shahar


            Your January is the pair of pilling wool mittens into which you tuck your pink-tipped fingers. It is the New Year’s fireworks show you missed because you were stuck in traffic at the stroke of midnight. It is the frostbitten branches glazing telephone wires, the naked trees shivering in place, and the pines hanging low and heavy with deposits of pearly snow. But mostly, it is the brisk walk from the car to the office because you left your jacket at home.

            My February is the pattern of icicles along the gutters, the glass chandeliers suspended in springtime anticipation. It is three sick days, where two and half are spent in a marathon of Everybody Loves Raymond, and the remaining half-day spent devouring turkey noodle soup.

            Your March passes quickly, a bit nippy at the edges, but mostly serene as springtime storms begin to trickle in.

            My April is the rushed bite of granola in between meetings and the triple-check in the mirror. It is the overcast sky sticky with rain and the high beams I keep on at night in anticipation of crossing toads.

            Your May is electrifying. It is the hair-raising chord peeled from the strings of an electric bass, hanging and twitching in the air you inhale as your arms rise above you in exhilarated concert-goer-dom. It is the one intoxicating evening that resonates through the month, its reverb catching on the calendar as the days trip over one another.

            My June is a hot breath of summer air that escapes me as I flatten into a lawn chair, my stress evaporating and collecting on the sides of my lemonade glass. It is each swelling afternoon spent walking to the riverside and watching my dog splash in the water. It is the sweet taste of fresh air and two straight days of making popsicles out of homemade fruit punch.

            Your July is the richness of dark-roasted coffee in the morning, its trickling heat like the prickly warmth of the blanket that the early sun peeled from your body. It is the fireworks show you were on time for as the night vibrated with the tymbal song of cicadas.

            My August is the beautifully-carved rocking chair that I hand painted. The steady balance between tipping too far forward and not far back enough. It is the last few weeks where summer dribbles down the drainpipe and the air begins to thin. It is the last inhalation of soggy air. It is the trees’ spider web of branches, fanned with greenery.

            Your September is ignited with the orange-tipped divinity of a fiery autumn. It is moving sweaters from the back of the closet to the front. It is a shy sun that peeks through shy clouds. It is the ninth time you gave your dog Frontline this year, the twenty-third time it rained, and the second time you stayed home with soup.

            My October is the one, perfect, crisp day, where I remove my jacket and let the air nip gently at my exposed arms. It is the ground littered with leaves that blanket the earth in expired sunshine. It is the smile I find carving jack-o-lanterns with my seven-year-old neighbor and the laugh that finds me when hers turns out better than mine.

            Your November is breezy and cold, a pink-nosed transition to winter.

            Then comes December. The skies are whale-belly grey and the clouds huddled together for warmth. It is the glistening snow that patters onto the driveway like padded paw-steps. It is the hot chocolate mug handle that your fingers just barely slide into. It is the holiday party that sent out last-minute invitations. It is squinting through the snowfall to make out silver-crested house numbers. It is stumbling over the threshold into the swelling warmth of the fireplace, brushing snow from parka shoulders, and rubbing frigid hands together while heading into the party scene. It is the woman leaning by the mantle while the man stretched out on the couch. It is the trailing scent of gingerbread, the neatening of our scarves, and laughing like the holidays are the funniest time of year. It is one lingering glance, six times checking our breath, eleven stolen smiles, and too many laughs to count before our first kiss.

            It is our first December.

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