I remember Donnie and I would refer to our respective birthdays as Birthday Shit Fest followed by whatever year it was– and it would happen every year–we’d make big plans and get let down. Each following year, the plans would get less excessive to ensure success. Then there was the year Donnie stood me up on my birthday to do drugs with that one girl. I waited by the window all day, like a broken home child waiting on their father to pick them up for the weekend. Like that memory of my Mother’s…
Last year’s birthday sort of involved my estranged father. We had begun talking, slightly, at the end of August last year through some Facebook trickery concocted by his wife, who’s maybe 10 years older than me. So naturally, I expected him to call me on my birthday a few days later, right? Who wouldn’t, after just mentioning on that one call how he always thought of me on my birthday and he absolutely knew when the day was. I said to myself, “If he doesn’t call, I’m done. This is the first time in my life he could tell me ‘happy birthday’.” Even my mother was sure he’d call.
And he didn’t call. I even gave him a few days after. Nothing. So I sent him an email containing such phrases as “are you fucking kidding me?” and “save your bullshit excuses.” He tried to apologize and gave the excuses I expected. Then Laura died and I told him I couldn’t deal with him right now because of such. He has said nothing to me since. I do not expect a call this year. His excuse will be “you said you didn’t want to talk to me.”
Laura dying. Jesus, it’s almost been a year. We weren’t friends or speaking at the time, but when we were, it was intense and for about a decade. She was that best friend to me. You know which one I mean– and one day, she broke up with me. I was “too negative,” which I found out later meant, “you don’t let me do whatever I want and play the victim and do all the drugs and think I’m still adorable.” I didn’t take this well, to say the least.
So it had been about 5 years since we spoke when I was informed by a mutual friend– “She hung herself” — a Facebook text by one too eager to break the news. Full of tact. We all gathered in the snake pit that night to cry and drink and yell. (No one speaks any longer. Lots of drama ensued.)
Then the hurricane came.
I usually get a birthday hurricane, but this one ended up being Hurricane Laura. I had to sleep on the couch that night because my husband had hurt his back preparing for the storm and was lying on the bed sideways, like an asshole. I cried in the dark as the windows rattled right above me. I think I sort of wanted the windows to shatter onto me.
So, my birthday is weird and makes me feel terrible. No one ever remembers it. I spent all my birthdays growing up wondering if my father knew what day it was or if he was thinking of me at all. Everything always goes wrong. No one cares enough about anyone. Everybody leaves. My family wants to go out to dinner, like we do for all birthdays. I’m over it. I’m going to be 35. In another 35 years, I’ll be 70 and hopefully already dead.