I can feel it coming the way you can feel a person’s energy right behind you without even looking. The air gets heavier to breathe as if my throat is constricted by an unseen hand, an unspoken heaviness that rests softly on your shoulders like your favorite scarf. Armor in a way. I can feel my eyes swelling and my nerves begin to dance uncomfortably as if the emotion they are feeling is new. It isn’t, new…. It’s residual but every year it comes with a new surprise. A new weakness or a new strength I hadn’t known was there the year before hell, maybe a new memory will pop up, or a picture will fall out of a book but everywhere I turn, I feel it, see it, hear it, and sometimes even smell it coming. July is here again. This makes year 11.
I clench my jaw in an attempt to make me sit up straighter, to keep the lump in my throat from growing larger. I prevent those around me from seeing what is happening by laughing it off or hiding to gather myself, swallow the tears and get back out there. I hate July, but I am making the best of it year by year.