Monday is my birthday.
As I jog with Penny in the morning, I think about the birthdays of my childhood. I do not remember specific parties or presents, but I remember that birthday feeling of remarkably emotional fragility.
At noon, I walk into work. Nobody sings and nobody says obligatory Happy Birthdays in horrendous high pitch apologetic voices.
"Oh! It's your birthday? Happy Birthday!"It is always a chain reaction of blush and retreat. Therefore, I keep my birthday a secret.
"It's your birthday? Happy Birthday."
"I didn't know that! Happy Birthday."
After work, I pull into our dark driveway, disappointed. There are no balloons on the mailbox and no parked cars of friends. I don't need a surprise party, I tell myself. I just had a wedding for selfish's sake and before that a surprise wedding shower was thrown for me. I don't need a surprise party.
I don't want a surprise party.
A couple friends. A couple friends with a cake would be nice. No, I don't need that. It's Monday night. My friends are tired and so am I.
I don't want to see anyone anyway.
Maybe Scott got me a cupcake or something.
But Scott hasn't any baked goods for me. When I get home, he is working silently at the desk. I make his lunch for the next day and ignore the dishes in the sink.
Later I lay in bed speechlessly disappointed that my night has reflected the normalcy of my day. I haven't blown out any candles, I think regretfully.
I have to wish something, don't I?
I thought I had outgrown it, but I haven't and I don't expect I will. Forever on the evening of my birthdays, I will hope for the lights to be dimmed and for my mother to walk out of the kitchen with a birthday cake covered in brightly burning candles.
Tonight, Tuesday night, I am drinking a beer, eating two bowls of popcorn and lighting candles.
I'll make a wish when I go to bed.