After drinking and drugging my way into my birthday I felt and looked every one of my thirty-two years that next morning. But I could look into my reflection with positivity. It was a good birthday that I was able to celebrate with friends, not like my birthday ten years earlier.
My first birthday of the century I had just moved across the continent to California with nothing but what could fit in the back seat of my car (it was an SUV, but I really didn’t bring that much). I was going to explore the world and get some life experience in my weary bones. I was working full time at a chain book store. The job was kind of laid back but also soul draining when you realized you were revolving forty-five hours of your life every week to it. So I was damned if I was going to celebrate the twentysecond anniversary of my day of birth manning a cash register and letting people know we’d be closing in ten minutes.
But June 27 came around and I realized I didn’t think through what I was going to do. It was a Tuesday, so everyone would be working. Not that I really knew anyone outside of the store I was working at. It was before cell phones, so in my loneliness I figured I’d wait around the apartment for people from my old life to give me a call and wish me a happy freaking birthday. But ten am became noon which became two in the afternoon and the phone stayed eerily silent. My mind started thinking about out of sight out of mind and that when I moved across the country I really did move across the country. My thoughts got darker as I wondered if I died in my bedroom how long it would take for anyone to find my body. I did have a roommate, but volumes could be written about this nutcase and perhaps at some future point they will.
As dinner came I was getting pissed. I went to the phone to tell my so-called friends and family what thoughtless jerks they were and if there was anything they wanted to tell me. I picked up the phone and started dialing, but nothing happened. I hung up and I realized there was no dial tone. I knocked on the roommate’s door. He was still sleeping at five in the afternoon until I barged in and asked him, “Did you know the phone’s disconnected.”
“Oh, I forgot to pay the bill.”
I ended up spending the birthday with him. We drove into the redwoods and he told me the two things he did exceptionally well were skiing and dancing. And that he lost his virginity at the age of six. That was one of the more normal conversations we ever had.