The calendar flips over to a new month and the year splits in half. July under January and the days repeat themselves: Saturday the 1st, Sunday the 2nd, Monday the 3rd, and so on. The days repeat themselves, except that instead of cold grey rain we have blue sky sunshine. Instead of the aftermath of Christmas, we have young girls in bikinis on the beach and summer tourists crowding our streets. Instead of a big belly and a heart full of hope, there is fear and emptiness, out of step with the cloudless sky, the smell of sunscreen and the sweetness of little girls in gingham swimsuits, buckets and pails in hand.
During the first weeks after Anja died, I spent hours reliving the last week of her life. Sunday the 8th, Monday the 9th, Tuesday the 10th, Wednesday the 11th. Happy happy days. And then: Thursday the 12th she was dead, Friday the 13th limbo, Saturday the 14th she was in our arms for the first and last times. And now here comes that week again: 12th, 13th, 14th.
Winter / Summer
Here / Gone
Before / After
I feel as though I am moving slowly but inevitably into a wind tunnel and that come Sunday, I will be sucked right in and through to the other side, the opposite side, the part of the year where we still had her, still thought she was ours to keep. I will be there, in the winter grey and drizzle, the long dark nights spent feeling her kick and roll inside me, the secret world the two of us inhabited so cozily, oblivious to what would happen only days later, and I will be here, where outside our windows the light stays in the sky until nearly 11, the mountains outlined sharply against the green-blue of it, and sounds of people partying on balconies nearby drift in and over us. Summer. Winter. Here. Gone.
The days repeat and I live in both times and neither, trudge slowly through this doppelgänger week again toward the unavoidable end of our story, the end that I can’t change through the reliving, nor through want and wishes and longing. Our wee slight winter girl, silent and still, born in snow and impossible to reconcile to these long light fragrant days, beach days, and the sight of other baby girls’ chubby thighs and elbows, sparkling eyes and hands shovelling sand into inquisitive mouths. Conceived in summer but stuck forever in winter. Ghost girl. Gone girl. I try to imagine you two years old someday and running through the water park with your big sister but you stay resolutely in January, a sliver of winter stuck through me and carried into this opposite season. Here. Gone. Here. Gone. Here. Gone.