April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
– T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
Don’t worry, I won’t be reproducing “The Waste Land” in its entirety–there’s no point in making this month any meaner than it already is. I’m admittedly not much of a T.S. Eliot fan, but he was right about one thing: April really is the cruellest month. At least for me it is, as there are specific dates in this month which serve as a painful reminder to me of what will never be. Perhaps more importantly, April marks the first full month of spring, a season of rebirth and renewal when color and life return to the flora and fauna of this mortal coil–plants and animals both coming into bloom for the primal purpose of propagating the species. With the warm weather come equally warm bodies in short skirts or sundresses, their felicitous female forms turning the heads of men whose minds become monomaniacal with desire–the blood coursing through their veins rising in temperature like a reptile on a rock. ‘Tis the season for twitterpated lovers ambling by hand in hand while those of us without a hand to hold become melancholic and bitter as we watch life return to the living while leaving the rest of us out. April is a month when loneliness can get the better of you if you’re not careful, and it all kicks off with an entire day devoted solely to fucking with somebody’s head.
I’ve never much cared for April Fool’s Day–always been kind of a sourpuss about pranks, to be honest. I trace it back to a particularly awful April Fool’s prank that was played on me as a child. I was about ten years old and getting ready to go to bed when I heard my stepmother scream. My father began yelling at me to call 911, and I ran into the bathroom to see my stepmother holding her left hand over the sink. There was blood covering both her hand and the sink, and I panicked. I ran as fast as I could to the telephone and managed to dial the number nine when my father snatched the receiver out of my hand and pulled me away from the phone. “No, no, no–Cindy’s all right!” he said. “It’s a joke–it’s just a joke–see?!?” I looked up to see my smiling stepmother clutching a bottle of ketchup, and I immediately began bawling. They were shocked to see me in tears because the gore was so obviously fake that no one could possibly mistake Heinz 57 for actual blood. No one, that is, except for a ten-year-old boy who was as blind as a bat without his glasses. They could have used Hershey’s syrup and I still would have thought my stepmother was bleeding out before my eyes. Needless to say, my family refrained from participating in April Fool’s Day from that point forward.