Dearest Rachel –
The nights are getting longer; well, they’ve been getting longer since Daniel’s birthday nearly four months ago. But now that we’ve passed the vernal equinox, and the hours of darkness exceed those of light, it becomes that much more obvious… and painful.
October, even out here on the internet, is a month spent building up to its final day: All Souls Day, or Halloween. It’s the spooky season; Spooktober, if you will.
All well and good, except it’s the first in thirty years without you.
Of course, every day is another first of its kind without you. It’s going to be like this until January 23rd, and even then, it never seems like it’s going to end.
But this month is a little more poignant, because of something we used to watch together… because we used to watch it together. Yeah, it’s that recursive.
It was last year that we discovered it; we were down at your parents’ house to check out how things were going with Two Feathers and Stan, and to take care of clearing out certain things that your folks left behind. We would do this on a monthly basis, as there was too much to bring back on any given trip.
Of course, by now, so much of that stuff has simply been completely discarded, I’m sorry to say. These were your memories, honey, not mine, and they didn’t connect with me at all.
Be that as it may, you could always bring with us one of our small computers, which you would plug into the television in order to watch whatever we had brought on a hard drive – or whatever was on the Internet. Usually the latter. On this particular trip, we discovered that Channel Awesome – the home of the Nostalgia Critic – was doing an episode-by-episode review of the classic Twilight Zone throughout the month. The Twilight-Tober Zone (yeah, I know, a really hokey title. Look, they’re going to call it what they’re going to call it) was something we came across in the while we were down in Macomb, and with nothing better to do, we binged our way through the episodes (and the occasional sketch to incorporate the Channel Awesome team in a modern take on the episode’s synopsis).
One of the reasons this caught our attention it’s because of the fondness you had for the Twilight Zone – and all of its incarnations. Whether the original, the 80s remake, the reboot from the early 2000s, you tried to collect and rewatch it all. So a nostalgic review of the classics was right up your street.
And while I enjoyed the show to a certain extent myself, it was one of the many things that you enjoyed considerably more than Daniel or myself. And it’s those things that are the most painful to deal with now that you’re gone. To this day, for instance, Daniel tells me he’s ‘not ready’ to eat anything from Taco Bell. For my part, while I’ve gotten used to shopping by myself, there are some products that I encounter, like Monster Cereals and Baja Blast, where I have to try and restrain myself from bursting into tears right there in the middle of the aisle.
So it is with the likes of the Twilight Zone. Yes, once upon a time I would watch these old episodes in my grandparents’ basement, and that experience was creepy as all get-out, being alone down there with an old fashioned black-and-white set (that had to warm up for several minutes before picture and sound came into focus). Even the vanity plate, where the CBS logo opened up like a camera iris, was suitably creepy. They were great stories, don’t get me wrong, but watching them could be a disturbing experience. But you really loved them, and seeing them being summarized and reviewed on YouTube was a lighter and softer experience that we could both enjoy.
Only… Last year only covered thirty-one episodes of course, as it only went on for the single month. We would have to wait until 2021 for another thirty-one episodes. No big deal, we had plenty of time.
You might say that, now that I was able to retire, we had ‘time enough at last.’
Except we didn’t. And while Daniel listens to his prophets and pundits, I can’t seem to help myself from watching this season’s collection of reviews, wishing you were still here on the couch to see these things.
I sometimes imagine that you could see through my eyes, and experience what I do in abstentia. Why I should believe that, when that wasn’t possible for you in life, is beyond me. It’s just another bit of magical thinking that I can’t seem to avoid.
So, if you’re aware in the slightest of the things I’m doing and watching, I hope you enjoy it. But if not – if the things of heaven are so spectacular that you have no desire to pay any attention to what’s going on here on earth – I promise I’ll understand.
Either way, it’s still lonely to watch all on my own.