Today marks one month since Arijit died.
I was not aware of this fact when I was making my plans for today.
I have spent most of the last month not knowing the date. Arijit died on a Friday, and so that is how I’ve been counting the time: the first Friday since he died, the second Friday since he died, the Monday after the third Friday since he died. I’ve been navigating by days, not dates, which is why I didn’t notice that the 22nd had crept up.
I learned today’s date from a reminder email sent at midnight from our shared calendar, about a concert that Arijit wanted to attend tonight. As his disease progressed, he only added concerts he really and truly wanted to see to the calendar. This was the last one he added.
I told myself I would go.
And very late last night (or very early this morning), I cried for this date.
I cried because it had already been a month.
I cried because it had only been a month.
I cried because I could still so clearly see his face, and because I knew that my memories of him would eventually grow fuzzier.
I cried because the pain was still so fresh, even after one month, and so how could I hope that things would be different in two months, six months, twelve months, ninety-six months?
I cried for the time we had lost, for all the adventures we will miss.
But at least there was this concert. He had three concerts on his calender. I went to the previous two. I would do the same tonight, for him.
I slept in this morning. I missed the precise one-month mark, for I had no desire to relive sitting by his side, holding his hand, watching as his breaths grew ever slower until they finally stopped. I stayed in bed until the cat’s howling for attention finally drove me out.
I had one main job to do today: to buy more cat food for my howling cat. I had one secondary job to do today: to find a dress for Arijit’s celebration. I did both.
But the fitful sleep and the heat and the exertion tired me, and I returned home exhausted, with a headache.
I contemplated skipping the concert.
But you must go, said a little voice in my head. It was so important to Arijit.
You need to do this for him.
Are you really going to break your promise?
Arijit loved concerts; don’t deny him this.
It’s true: Arijit loved concerts.
But he also loved sitting on the couch together, listening to music. He loved curling up with a good book (or good Internet article) with music playing in the background. He loved filling the apartment with music.
Most importantly, he loved when I’d take care of myself. He loved it when I would recognize what I needed, and do that, instead of giving in to self-imposed obligations.
He knew that, of our many shared passions, live music wasn’t one of them. He knew that I was perfectly happy to sit at home and listen to the stereo than stand in a crowded venue just to hear the same song live.
And he loved me anyway.
So I am no longer going to this concert.
Instead, I have ordered some pizza. I will plug Arijit’s iPod into our speakers and play the music I am missing live. I will cuddle with my howling cat (though hopefully he will replace the howls with purrs) and eat my pizza and listen to the songs. I will probably cry, because I miss him so, and because it is no easier today than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow, and because even my happy moments are tinged with longing and sadness.
But before and after and during those tears, the house will be full of music. And through that music, the house will be filled with Arijit again.
I can think of no better way to celebrate him.