February is a hard month.
It the the gray cold month my friend Leo died in, in 1985.
When it rolls around it I remember.
Like it is my job to be the keeper of his memory.
I remember differently as an adult, as a parent, as a middle aged woman with life experience.
In my twenties I was so angry.
I am much less angry now.
Now my memories are snapshots, a slide show in my mind.
I stand in the hallway of my high school, my friend Brooks wraps me in a hug, picking me clean off the ground, and whispers the news in my ear.
"but he's ok, right."
I ask, perplexed.
I sit on a church pew beside a leather jacket clad friend, who is sobbing and writhing.
I am stone faced in my fancy black dress.
I shoo my new boyfriend away at the memorial and leave, drunk, chain smoking, with an old boyfriend.
We sit in the parking lot of Powells in the pissing rain, smoking and crying and sobering up.
My mother screams "WHAT ARE YOU ON?" when I walk in the door, and lectures me on the selfishness of suicide, as if knowing Leo is a gateway drug, that puts me at risk.
"I'm on melancholy and self loathing."
Was my punchline for years, when I told this story.
As a mother, I have a more compassionate heart. I understand irrational fear better. I understand powerlessness, more.