Entries in Stephen Burke (1)


January 25th

January 25th.
 I almost forgot it again today. For the first few years I got sick every January 25th, or just a little insane. I lost my temper easily and occasionally frightened people who had a reason to trust me. But now I seem to just block it out. I know that the number means something. I have a sense when I look at it that it's weightier then the other numbers on the calendar. But honestly don't remember why.
And then the messages start coming from other people. Nice messages. Lovely ones. Thinking of your brother. Hope you're okay. I know this is a hard time for you. And I remember what Jan 25th means . This is the day that my brother died, and everything changed.
Now everybody who has lost somebody says that. They say that everything changed the day so and so died . And you hear the convention of the phrase. The ubiquity. And it slides past your ear, like the ghost of meaning. But when I say everything changed, I am being specific. I'm the only one who sees my version of the universe. And in my universe my brother is alive. That is as much a part of my reality as gravity or air. On this day the universe flexed. Shook off my control.  I lost my brother. And the capacity to ever completely trust air or gravity. 
The first time I forgot I was horrified. I thought it meant that I had become calloused. I thought my admittedly extreme self-centeredness was giving me the gift of selective amnesia . But now I think if I was calloused , I probably would remember the date.  I would put some kind of sticker on the calendar to mark it. Some not happy emoticon. I would make it into event. Cook his favorite foods. Tell stories, lift a jar, sing a song, celebrate the life. But no calluses have formed. Part of me  is still right there, experiencing for the first time the entire world changing. Face down where I had fallen, on the carpeted stair, as I tried to go up and tell the children what the phone call from their grandmother had been about. I see the carpet. I see how badly it needs vacuuming . I realize that my face is against purple dirty nap, and wonder why. And then I remember. And stay down.
I think I forget because it is still so raw. Because I still have almost nothing to say except No. Not. Didn't. Couldn't. And.... I miss you Steve. I miss you everyday. I think I can't remember January 25th, because every day is January 25th.