Saturday, January 6, 2007
I just had a birthday...I am 29.
I feel a good bit older.
I didn’t get much, but that’s hardly what it’s about, yeah? My daddy bought me a cake. He had a bit of trouble because he called and asked me what kind I wanted, and after going over a list (which I’d already given to my mother once) of possibilities, including everything from a Boston cream pie to a spice cake, I decided once more on an Oreo cake...which they don’t actually make. I wanted a Cookies and Cream cake. He figured it out. Of course that didn’t spare me the poking in the ribs and the good natured teasing I got for making him look silly when he asked the deli people for a nonexistent cake.
He then spent the rest of the evening retelling the stories about how my scooter used to beat me up as a kid, and...about how I (never) learned how to ride a bike, which was basically the story of how he spent weeks trying to teach me, and then finally tied my bike to the back of his truck, told me to hold on to the handle bars, somehow convinced my grandmother this was not only a good idea, but also to help hold me steady...and then he got in the truck and hit the gas. Theoretically if we fell over, I was supposed to just be able to let go. We both got dragged a quarter mile because he’d told me very sternly before we started to, “Hold on tight...and just don’t let go.”
And so we nearly died...being that when we fell we were in his blind spot.
Ohhh good times.
I didn’t get a call from my biological father for my birthday Didn’t get one for Christmas either. I suppose that’s because he’s dead now. I suppose that, but for some reason I was sort of expecting one anyway. It’s funny, because he never used to call on those days before. He always missed them because he was sort of an absent parent...not like my adoptive dad at all--near death bicycle training notwithstanding--but these last couple of years he knew he was sick and so he started calling. And I started expecting it. And now he’s back to not calling again, and I am just as pissed off about it as I was when I was ten.
Kind of selfish of me isn’t it? He’s dead and I’m the one who’s pissed off?
I’ve been trying to sort that one out since yesterday, since all the happy birthdays and dad pointing out that I had this silly smile on my face when everyone was singing to me. He says everyone gets this silly smile when you sing happy birthday to them. Same smile, everyone gets it, he says. I think it’s because it’s the one moment you aren’t allowed to think about who is missing and who isn’t thinking about you and who should be, because for those few seconds, at least the people you have are getting your absolute attention and making sure you know beyond a doubt that you are special. It may not last past the candles being blown out, but for those few seconds all that matters are the people who are there.
It has to be at least a little true, because I started to think about the whole thing many hours later and I made myself cry as I tend to do, those missed calls bringing me down again... And then I just thought about how goofy I must have looked for Dad to have even noticed my smile to comment on it. He had to have been looking for it, it must have really mattered to him, because his smile was pretty goofy too, which made me laugh just to think about. It’s really hard to wallow in misery and snicker at the same time.