October rolls in and my lips chap every third hour, the patches of skin below my elbows grow rough. I throw split ends into a low braid, warmth for my neck, knots from my coat collar. My Brooklyn apartment suddenly feels too big, a vast wide open space, the couch not enough to fill it. I forget to worry about shoebox bedrooms and kitchens comprised of no more than a short row of cabinets. I forget, sometimes, that this is New York City, this is Brooklyn, this is how I learned to breathe in and out. "Do you ever just run across the floor in your socks? Slip and slide, you must do that all the time here." I forget I am the silliest.
October rolls in and the night arrives sooner. I don't finish my cupcake, the icing too sweet, and I bite my tongue. When will I learn how to exhale? I knew once. "You are a pattern," they say, all of them, but I don't even recognize myself. Some days I climb the stairs, pressing hard into my heels, and feel the strength in my legs. Muscles built by this city, I built these muscles, they carry me, and some days I think I need nothing else. Exhale.
October rolls in but I think it's spring. A change of seasons. An ending, the summersault, head over feet of the school year concluding and the brand new buds blossoming. I am waiting to lose something, someone again. A chilled park bench conversation, sweat dripping down my back on the subway platform, a song on repeat, over and over and over again. Octobers give, a harvest, a bounty, a cornucopia, I am not ready to receive. November will come, brown leaves, bare branches, dried weeds along the ocean banks. I wonder what will burn. Red embers and gray ashes.
Dark night windows and tall ceilings, everything echoes, my quiet, stockinged steps. I spin and spin and spin and lay myself out across the hard wood floor. "Fall in love whenever you can," we called it Practical Magic Crying because I was unconsolable. I've always mixed hopeful with hopeless, sweet and sour margaritas, dizzy. I am asking for magic. To circle time and tie its ends together, to bend the earth like it's a map, I step forward, I step backward, I roll over and we are together, to put the world into a snow globe at midnight, to stand at the edge of a lake deep enough to hold our dreams and drown our fears, to feel strong and soft, young and wise, to find heartbeats in the darkness. October rolls in and I ask for magic.