Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

BIRTHDAY BLUES
I awoke this morning, the day of my 43rd birthday, in a state of panic, melancholy and sadness. I had laid awake for a good portion of the night worrying about my father, who was facing surgery, and the rest of the night contemplating my life, the vastness of time, and the miniscule concept of time. Although I’ve always been smart, I’ve not spent a lot of time in my life contemplating things such as actual time. How could it be that I have been alive for 43 years, yet don’t remember more than a few key events throughout that time? Where, literally, did the time go? How can we actually have a past, in the sense that things happened but we can never go there, or have them be, again?
And what about the future? Someday the future will be the past, then where will time have gone? And what will be left? Have I wasted time in the past? (I know I have, at least on occasion) And can I afford to waste any time in the future? For a rare while, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ve spent my time wisely, and of course, thinking, that if I had spent it better, and had more money and resources, I could somehow stop all the bad things that could happen to my family and loved ones. Of course that thought snowballed into the thought of EVERY bad thing that could happen to anyone I loved, and by the time I crawled out of bed I felt like a speck in the universe; a speck that had been targeted to have all manner of gloom and doom bestowed upon it.
Convinced I would not be able to make it through the day without something terrible happening, I drug myself out of bed and made some coffee. Then I started receiving birthday phone calls and text messages, which made me feel only slightly better, but guilty, because everyone calling had no idea I was merely a speck in the universe, lost in the sands of time. In the midst of my calls someone beeped through who I did not know. The connection was bad and she didn’t speak very clearly, so, finally, frustrated, I said loudly “who are you and who are you looking for?”
“I’m with such and such floral, and I’m standing at your front door with flowers for you. Will you please come down and let me in.”
My mood started to lift as I opened the door and there she stood with a beautiful blossoming pink plant, sent from Jessica in San Francisco. Despite my subconscious vow to be glum all day, I smiled all the way up the stairs and back to the apartment. I got dressed and headed downtown to catch the train to Tim and Mona’s for an Easter/Birthday celebration, still feeling gloomy.
The minute I walked in the door of their home, Princess Ashley was standing at the top of the stairs, holding two candles, one in the shape of a 3 and one in the shape of a 4. “Happy Birthday!” she yelled with all the enthusiasm of someone who still believes birthdays are the best day out of the year.
My mood was definitely cracking. The house smelled of a freshly baked cake, and we spent the day visiting, drinking coffee, dying easter eggs, hiding easter eggs, blowing up easter eggs with firecrackers, and finally, finishing off the easter eggs in a short round of easter egg baseball.
Why had I been so gloomy earlier?
Mitch entertained me with his talents on Guitar Hero, and Tim and Mona reassured me that all would be okay with the impending surgery. We joked, we laughed, we ate awesome chicken chalupas and carrott cake, then played Murder in the Dark, the quiet game (which wasn’t quiet, we were all laughing) and a version of some word/charade game, that, again, had us all laughing. Before I knew it the day had passed, and we headed back to the train station so I could get home before dark.
I was amazed at how much my mood had changed in the course of a few hours. The dark cloud was gone (metaphorically. The skies were actually dark and spitting rain by the time the train pulled into Union Station.) I thought about how lucky I was to have such great family and friends, and that I had actually enjoyed pretty much all of my 43 years of life. I was feeling blessed an abundant, especially since I was carrying a bag with leftover chalupas and birthday cake.
I remembered the homeless people I had passed downtown this morning, and wondered where they would seek shelter on this cold, wet night. The streets were nearly deserted when I caught the 16th Street Shuttle through town, there being only a drunken sailor (literally) a lone cowboy and a gray haired gentleman who was lost and asked me for directions. Then a couple got on who were not obviously all there mentally, and I watched them for a second, wondering when the last time was they had enjoyed a chalupa and birthday cake. I was contemplating giving them my leftovers when the woman spoke to me.
“you got a soda in that bag?” she asked.
“Nope. Just leftovers.” I said.
“Oh, could you help me out with a dollar, I really want a soda.” Then she held up a Mcdonald’s bag. “I got a Big Mac, but I really want a soda to go with it.”
Needless to say, they didn’t get my leftovers. I marched proudly up the street with them, through the pouring rain, and put them in my little Hobbit fridge to enjoy tomorrow. As I folded my futon down into my bed, and looked out over the city lights, I realized that what had started out as one of the worst birthdays ever, had actually turned into one of the best. And I’m committing it to memory. So the next time I get lost in time, I will remember it.

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April 25, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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