October 8th is my favorite day of the year. I don’t know why. I guess I like the number eight and October is my favorite month. It looks nice written out: 8 October. “Eight Octo” sounds cool. It’s the same thing twice said differently.
At midnight on October 8th, which was five hours ago, I wrote a letter to a woman I haven’t seen in ten years. I drove to her parents’ house in Nokesville and left that letter in her parents’ mailbox. On the envelope I specified that it was OK for her mother or father to read the letter aloud to her over the phone (assuming she no longer lives there—which, as a twenty-eight-year-old woman, I imagine is the case).
It started to rain a little. I got back in the car and put on Jessica Pratt’s album. I drove for miles beneath black trees to the street where I grew up. I put the car in reverse and backed down a gravel road near my childhood home. I parked in the exact spot where I lost my virginity. I got out and went into the nearby field.
The blood moon was in the sky. It was huge and weird. The sky was so clear. There was a fleet of ghostly clouds passing over. As I walked down the gravel road toward the low grass, the clouds floated below the moon. The ground was light and then dark and light again. It went on like this till I got to the center of the field where I knew a tree had once been. The tree was still there. In my head I called it “the suicide tree” because Madeleine and I had once sat beneath it talking about all the times we’d ever thought about suicide.
It was nice, back then, to talk about something like that, and to hear that someone else had felt the same way, and to feel comforted that you were both still alive.
I stood by the suicide tree and scanned the field. The air was cool. It was windy but it felt good on my face. I didn’t feel cold at all. There were little animals running through the tall grass. I could hear insects in the trees. I thought, if what awaited me after death was an eternity in a windy, moonlit field on October 8th in Virginia, then I would be OK dying right then and there—because what came next was what came before, only it would last forever.
And of course there would be no such thing as time. I would walk down those old roads and through those rain-soaked fields alone, thinking nothing. I would be there with the moon and the grass and the trees and the little animals and the insects and that would be my own little painless universe.