My Twentieth Birthday

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

I drove home on the 4th of October and had dinner with my Mom at Chili’s to celebrate my birthday. She was going to have to work the next day, so she took me out to eat and then out to buy my birthday gift, a keyboard my birthday cash didn’t quite cover. I had no right to ask my Mom for more of a loan, especially since she’d gone to bat for me to get a computer over the summer and we’d both been chastized by Dad for it. But she helped me out with the extra bucks anyway, and I ended up with a great little keyboard that would serve me well over the next couple years.

I woke up Sunday morning and fucked around with my keyboard and hung out with my Dad and John, who was also home for the weekend. I don’t recall us doing anything special. I might have done the laundry and then Dad probably watched football while John bitched about him watching football. The point is, I spent most of my day there and it wasn’t until early evening that I returned to Bradford.

When I returned to Bradford everyone was telling me they had absolutely no time to hang out or celebrate and I was supremely bummed. They were all so damn busy it was baffling. I had dinner with Kerry and Jimmy I think (Jimmy for sure, Kerry maybe), and they were both like, “Happy Birthday. Sorry we can’t do anything.”

Later on that night I met up with Suzanne to discuss some ReView business and she hiked my ass up the three flights of stairs to our office, saying how sorry she was that nobody could get together for my birthday. I unlocked the door to the office, flicked on the light and then came the deafening roar, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”

I fell back against the wall in the hall and slid down the ground, turning the shade of a tomato. I had never been so damn surprised in my life. Every one of my friends was there. Almost my whole house — Russel, Donna, Angela, Stacey, Stephanie, Dan, Jimmy — was there and then there was Nikki and Heather T. (God, was I glad to see them… I thought I’d ruined everything with Heather earlier in the year and even though we’d seen each other and been civil during this semester so far… It was just good to see them), and Louann and Kerry and probably Tori and Erik as well and God… I am forgetting a slew of people. There hadn’t been that many people in our tiny ReView office in ages.

Knowing I didn’t dig cake, they instead got me a giant cookie. That was very good. People didn’t stay long. They all really did have a lot of work to do, but they did take a little time out to celebrate my birthday and that meant the world to me, coming out of a big blue funk as I was. If Rachael could have been there, it would have been perfect. But she was coming the next weekend and really, I couldn’t complain.