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January 27, 2011 / justerik


I wrote this as a birthday gift. The birthday was mine, the gift was intended for everyone else. It was 2009 and I was miserable, and that came out in the story, but also there was a bit of self-mockery too, because after all, how bad could a birthday be?

I would make some comment apologizing for this turn of phrase or that, but that seems silly. I’ll let it stand or fall on its own.




January brooded.

He was good at brooding, January. His sister, February, always said so and she was a fine brooder herself, all grey eyed and wan. January liked to brood with his eyes downcast, hunched over his thoughts like reprimanding schoolteacher.

He thought of all the children born while he held court, whose foreheads he had kissed in blessing. He thought of all those who had died. He had closed their eyes with his long, thin fingers and blessed them too, for all who were born or died while he held the crown were his, and he loved them all.

It was a good brood, with a nice melancholy and a hint of bittersweetness, and January could have savored it for a while longer, had he not been interrupted.

“Happy birthday!”

It was one of the twins – June, he decided, though he had enormous trouble telling the difference. That June was a girl, and July a boy had never seemed to help much. Of course, the twins said they couldn’t tell all of winter apart, even February, who didn’t have a beard.

“Thank you, ” January said. “But it’s not my birthday. Not really. And I’m not sure it ever will be.”

“How sad, ” June – or quite possible July – said, “To bless all the children and watch them blow out candles and open presents and grow older and wiser but never have a birthday yourself.”

She’ll be a first class brooder herself. Or he will, one, January thought. He had considered the more sunny siblings a bit superficial, but perhaps he had misjudged.

“I got you a present. For your birthday.”

January, confused, began to explain for a second time the problems in assigning any kind of date of birth or really date of anything for a spirit and personification of an aspect of Time itself when he was what was in June’s hand.

It was a snowglobe. January took it carefully, wrapping his fingers around it. It was surprisingly light – cheap even, made of plastic, not glass. The snow little more than glitter.

He swirled the snow around. No matter how hard he shook, it was always the same, the tempest never roared the little plastic cottage down, nor did its residents open the door, relieved when the storm abated. It was cold, and static, every shake exactly the same.

“Why did you – ” She was gone, fled like sunlight to the horizon.

January shook his globe. And brooded.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kyra / Jan 27 2011 8:42 pm

    More please. And, fuck June and July. Those twins are dull.

  2. Kyra / Jan 27 2011 8:42 pm

    More, please, rather.

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