November is the adolescence between fall and winter. It’s ugly, uncertain, and disobliging. Not to mention, Movember beards look like a messy plate of spaghetti.
I wish we could rewrite the months of the year, and leave November out of our calendars.
The trees are naked.
The only holiday is honoring those who were killed in war.
And the snowflakes that tumble from the sky are an abrasive reminder of the long, cold winter ahead.
My loathing towards November started in 2008 with a few minor incidents.
My best friend Laura found out she’d be hobbling on crutches for a year. As a result, I’d be burning my hands while carrying our coffee cups to class every morning.
We befriended a sweet girl who sent us death threats outside our dorm rooms at night. She had terrible penmanship.
And we got into a car accident that we secretly tried to pay off with our scholarship money.
Thankfully, my grandfather saw the car before my parents did.
He said it wasn’t that bad and things could be worse.
He was always very insightful.
When I was four, he taught me how to drive a tractor on his farm in New Brunswick.
When I was 14 he taught me how to paint on a canvas.
When I was 15 he taught me how to reverse a car.
I’m not so good at artistry or driving-anything.
But when I was six, he taught me how to write my first story. Telling stories were my favorite.
Since then, we shared stories on road trips in the car.
We shared stories over the phone and through email.
We shared stories at a desk in his office, and over dinner at the kitchen table.
We shared stories under the covers at bedtime.
He was my teacher, my friend, my storyteller.
My grandfather died on Thursday, November (of course) 20th, at 7 p.m.
At his funeral I shared his story, alone.
A week before he died, I watched as my storyteller began to gradually close his own storybook shut.
His fingers he used to write were cold and purple-kind of like November.
His mouth he used to reveal different plots and fictional characters, was in combat for air.
His eyes that always needed glasses when reading my writing, were closed.
It was then I realized there wouldn’t be any more stories.
When I visited him every summer, the leaves on his apple trees were always painted green.
Remembrance Day was his favorite holiday.
When I was little his nickname for me was “Snowflake”.
I dread November.
But like a dented bumper in a silver Toyota, things could always be worse.
There could have been no bedtime stories under the covers at all.