As the sun fell behind me, the distant mountainous peaks in the west painted the sky a brave orange that cast my shadow against a storage unit that I used to pass with every entrance and goodbye from my previous place of employment. I watched my shadow as I reached into my pocket for my phone. I snapped a picture of my dark figure to record the moment. It’s an image that I seldom visit, one I skip in the camera roll, one stamped like a watermark on my noggin.
Because of what month this occurred in, I had a feeling that I was leaving work for the last time. I feared that this was the premature death to a career that I loved. My boss simply said, “Don’t come in tomorrow,” as the city was hitting the breaks on practically all public activities. The date was March 19, 2020. Eight days later, I received a phone call from my mother, telling me that her mother passed away. I was no longer a grandchild. Endings seemed to descend on my life during this period.
March is a curious month for my family. Seemingly, everyone moves on during the 31-day stretch, within a specific ten days. As chance, coincidence, or fate would have it, March 22 marks the day when I lost my dad’s father in 1999. Five years later, minus two days, we lost his wife. Ten years later, on March 22, I lost a deeply loved best friend, my dog Scout — who grew up with me from kindergarten to beyond high school graduation. Another dog I grew up with, Buster, the puzzling and hilarious chihuahua, died on March 29, 2017. I guess there is something “special” about the angle of the sun and duration of the moonlight in March that sends my loved ones to the grave. No, I won’t be asking an astrology interpreter to read further into this.
When I knock on death’s door in a remarkable fashion and a stunning outfit, hopefully decades from now (with preferably no pain), I won’t be surprised if that departure comes in the month of March. I’ll just be dead. It is only fitting that El Paso, the West Texas city I live in, bears witness to the ugliest of weather patterns during March: the skies are painted with furious, flying dirt that interferes with direct sunlight. Particulate matter takes wing. The gusts can reach up to 40–50mph, forcing people to stay indoors. Memes of Tatooine resurface and circulate on social media platforms as the…