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.