October 24th

It appears that October 24th is safely over for yet another year. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the day passes and nothing life-changing has happened.

The crazy superstition started nine years ago. I started dating my first serious boyfriend on Oct. 24. The date was forever ingrained in my memory because I fully expected to be celebrating it as the anniversary of our first date for years to come. Instead, the relationship turned into a borderline abusive relationship that I was hesitant to end because I feared he would kill himself over it. (Thankfully he broke up with me first. He is now married–although just how happily is up for debate.)

Two years later to the day, my most promising relationship yet ended quite suddenly. It’s quite a long story, but two days earlier we were happy as clams, tentatively dreaming up our perfect wedding. The break-up killed me emotionally, and ever since I’ve dreaded the anniversary of that date. (We, too, still keep in touch. He is married as well, just months after I finally got hitched.)

The years following that break-up I spent October 24 holding my breath. One year I went out of town with a friend of mine to meet many of her college friends. I still remember that anxious feeling all day with a potentially life-changing situation coinciding with a life-changing day. It’s probably the “magic” of the day that compelled me to believe I felt a connection with one of those college friends. I’m still embarrassed when I think back to the days and weeks follwing that weekend when I shamelessly pursued my perceived soulmate. I wonder if I would have found myself in such an embarrassing situation if I had met the guy on any other day. I suppose the event was somewhat life-changing, but certainly not in the way I’d anticipated.

Then last year, my dear son spent the day in the NICU, just one more day in a string of days filled with fear and anticipation. I was terrified to go the the hospital to visit him, afraid that we would be greeted with bad news. I was just as terrified not to go; hearing the bad news over the phone would be twice as devastating. Of course, a part of me also recognized the possibility of wonderful news, maybe that first mention of his homecoming. I was relieved when the day was just another false alarm of an October 24. The news was typical, pretty much what we had heard every other day and what we expected to hear that day.

And this year passed quietly as well. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t earth-shattering. Perhaps the day has lost some of its power. Perhaps the only power it ever had was in my expectations. Now that I feel comfortable and satisfied with my life the way it is, expecting nothing earth-shattering ever, I have no reason to expect any day to hold such surprise, even October 24.

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