Of The Month

When I was a kid, I didn’t like August. August was when I went back to school.

The Summer Holidays, as they were called back then — or maybe I’m misremembering, maybe it was just me that called them something so blunt and clear and everyone else called it “summer break” or something more exciting — ran from the end of June through the middle of August. That made July an exciting month, a month to look forward to and feel filled with potential and possibility, even if all it actually translated into was lying around the house more, reading comics inside in the shards of sunlight coming in through dirty windows.

(I’m subtweeting myself there, to be honest, that was how I spent my summer holidays. Going outside? Why would I do that unless someone told me to?)

The promise of July made June a good month, too, thanks to the kid logic that runs no matter what happens this month, the holidays are still right there, I can see them…! Exams? Homework? Sure, I can handle that, because it’s only for a few weeks before good things happen.

August, though…! As soon as August rolled around, my mood changed; the end was nigh. It didn’t matter that I’d still have a couple of weeks of the break left when the month started — a full third of the Summer Holidays! — because school loomed visibly on the horizon, casting a shadow over everything. Whatever good things happened, they felt like consolation prizes or just postponing the inevitable heartbreak of returning to school. August was, then, an entirely untrustworthy month. August was trouble.

Decades later, I still have this suspicion when it comes to August, despite not having anything resembling Summer Holidays anymore. It wasn’t something that went away when I started art school, where the school year didn’t begin until September, and it didn’t fade when I left education and started working in the real world, which doesn’t offer six weeks off every summer for any purpose. Despite everything, I maintain this distrust for August, knowing full well that the poor month doesn’t deserve such disdain.

Maybe this year, this August, I’ll finally learn my lesson.