September. The heat of August rotting into fall. The sweetness of summer still on our lips. Pink roses and yellow daisies for homecoming dates. School kicking our butts into gear, tryouts and practices and meetings and sports filling the long hours. Everything good and bad about life comes back around.
October. My palms, sweaty against the knitted fabric of my gloves. Friday night lights, making adventures out of nothing. The twinge, the bite of fall weather. His warm flannel, getting lost under the shooting stars. Beautiful death in utter, screaming, exploding color.
November. Endless nights and early mornings. The smile of thankfulness, the glow in our eyes. Honesty like the crunch of brown leaves on the brick sidewalk. Concoctions of lemon and honey for sore throats, and plenty of tears and hugs and groans and laughs. The flash of lights and it’s all okay. The show must go wrong, but the show must go on.
December. Crisp bells and the smell of sugar cookies. The snow messes up his perfectly gelled hair as it melts on his eyebrows, eyelashes. Smiles and hugs and laughter. Some chairs sit empty but the warmth of family, of love, is too much for all of us to handle, and that’s why we cry. Tongues on tasty fingers and the smell of pine and warmth. Fairy lights shine in the eyes of good friends. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
January. Life winds up its fist again, to deliver punch after punch of business, but the slush never brings us down. Chalky hot cocoa and the flush of a fire. Narnia past the railroad tracks. Nights so bitterly cold you can’t possibly get yourself out of the covers because you’re shivering, even enveloped in the warmth of sleep. Glimmering ice painted on tree branches.
February. Snowstorms so bad they cancel school. Still drinking hot cocoa and sinking into fuzzy sweaters. Chocolate and red candy, a pinch of sweet on the tongue. Stress creeps up like the cold, seeping in through the walls of the house, but we kick at it until it bleeds. Bare trees wavering in the wind, ghosts of the last punch of winter.
March. The cold is on its last leg. The play, the family, the greatest people on earth, slowly drifting apart, connected by a white thread after a supernova of connection. More late nights, warmer this time. Smiles, the flash of white teeth and lights and love. Deer poke their heads out from their wintry homes. Brilliant buds on clacking tree branches.
April. Creativity explodes like the flowers along the main drag in the square. The flush of green returns to the endless pines. Laying awake at night, just so I can listen to the thunder and rain. We wear our favorite shorts and T-shirts even though this dreadful weather barely breaks sixty. Cold earth, smelling of minerals and life, ground into my mother’s hands, breaking soil for the coming season.
May. The end of an era, but yet, just on the coattails of another. Spring is in full swing. We dance our hearts out like the two old souls we are. Books close, relationships end, and people leave. It's a world full of tears, but oh boy are they tears of joy because these seniors will leave and rush forth into the world, taking their passion with them.
Summer. Spontaneity at its finest. Bitterly cold swim practices, but even later nights with fireworks and screams so loud the world stops to see our smiles, to hear our laughter. Infinitely long text conversations because we’re young and dumb and we have all of the time in the world. Windows down, late night drives under the stars. Classic rock and swing music in the park under the gazebo covered in vines.
And then it all starts again.
Numbering the years is useless, though. Because not even the words we speak can contain the infinities within you, within me, within the webs of our lives, as fragile as cobwebs caught in the wind.
There are some things woven so intimately, so vastly into us that if they were ripped, then the small pieces of us would shatter along with them.
But we were here. Young at heart and old in soul. We grew up here, we bloomed where we were planted, and we’ll take these small town nights and cold mornings with us, into the great and terrible beyond. These struggles, these hardships, cannot compare to the complex infinity of life, and all of the good it holds. The people we met formed these fragile webs of love, of life, that could never ever be replaced.
Life is good, and life is bad. But just as the seasons change, just as winter falls like snow and just as spring blooms like a flower, we must take it where we are, because everything’s going to be alright.
Time is fleeting and nothing is forever, but there are a million billion trillion decimal places between one and two.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.