Journal: August is the Cruellest Month

August is a month haunted by ghosts.

When I was little, I felt pride that my birthday – August first – was so close to my mother’s on August 23rd.

You see, for years, all I really wanted was to look like, act like and basically be my mother. I have a memory – as a teenager, I yelled at my principal for an unfair change in policy being made. When my mother found out, she demanded to know why.

“Because I thought it was what you would do,” I said, “And I wanted to be like you.”

I silenced my mother with that. Something changed, and we started protesting together. I remember running into friends of hers, who gasped the first time I talked.

“She even talks like you!”

Everybody says I’m my mother wrought younger. That’s why August feels like a haunted month. I stare at the mirror and wonder what she’d think of me and my life. What advice she’d offer.

Then I brush my hair, steel my nerves, and visit her, and exorcise my haunting.


I love you, mama.

Happy 65th birthday.


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