What did you do on your full moon Friday the 13th? The beau was traveling for work and I thought I was meant to spend the day alone, out of contact with anyone else. But the day had other plans.
I started the morning off with a Jillian Michaels workout, and I was in the midst of sweating on the living room rug when my phone rang. I looked at the number. It was my parents, who should have been at work, so that didn’t seem to be a good sign. It wasn’t. They were calling to tell me they’d unexpectedly had to put their dog to sleep. His cancer was very sudden, and very aggressive.
They had been deeply attached to him in that way parents sometimes get with pets when their kids are grown and gone. There was a hard catch in my dad’s voice, which put one in mine. I’d lost my first dog to cancer, too, and even though it was ten years ago now I’m still within easy reach of sobbing status if I think about it for a few moments too long. The grief of loss, even for just a pet, spends the rest of your life living just under your skin.
A dark theme seemed to fit the day. After I showered I put on a black and white striped dress and over it went a cropped tee with a print of a full moon. I applied the darkest eyeshadow in my palette, stopping short of dark purple lipstick. Even in solitude I didn’t want to invite the inevitable self-embarrassment that would come when I looked in the mirror later and the lipstick had migrated all over my face.
I had the rest of my time planned out. I was going to work all day on my job, and then I was going to work all night on the administrative personal life organization BS I’d been putting off for weeks: bills, estimated taxes, mail pile, internet research. I was going to be extremely productive. I was going to watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. I was going to fix myself a nice dinner. I was going to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and sleep for a long time.
Then I got a text. My friend’s baby had arrived, and they invited me to come visit them at the hospital.
Have you ever tried to sneak champagne into a labor and delivery ward? I have, now. I recommend opening the bottle in the car, so as not to draw the attention of the nurses with a loud pop. Then you carefully wrap the bottle in tissue paper and stick it in a gift bag, and stick the cups in another gift bag. Knock knock, presents for baby, except not at all.
The only person I’d ever before visited in a hospital was my dying grandmother, so this was a welcome change of pace. The 11th-floor window offered a sweeping view of the city and mountains to the south. In the quiet, dim recovery room we poured champagne, hid champagne when the nurse came in, watched the sun set, and talked about life as the baby slept on her dad’s chest.
By the time I got home the deep blue light of fading day was being replaced by the amber light of the full moon. I made myself a box of macaroni and cheese and ate it straight out of the pot. There were approximately five minutes left in second overtime when the LA Kings scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal. I hollered and stomped around in elation for a bit, a one-woman party in dark eyeshadow. I went to bed too late, at 1:00 am, and stayed awake for too long listening to the drone of the box fan in the window, cool night air rushing over my legs, my brain buzzing.
They say the world won’t see another “honey” moon on Friday the 13th again until 2098. With any luck, my friend’s new baby will be 84, and we’ll be in the ground. The fact of mortality is terrifying but strangely comforting. We’re all born, we all die, we all have plans that change on us, like the moon does a little every day.