Happy Birthday, Wherever You Are
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
Sometimes I wish I didnâ€™t have such a head for numbers. Numbers as in dates. Calendar dates.
I associate so many dates with different people, different events, with birthdays or anniversaries and things we did on those dates, Â even Â long Â ago.Â Even Â when theyâ€™re happy Â things, Â itâ€™s hard to be joyous Â about Â them Â when those people are gone from your life or you look back and see that things werenâ€™t what you thought.
This time of year…this particular day…always Â reminds me of a friend from long ago. Okay, not really a friend. But I wanted her to be.
Looking Â back, Â itâ€™s Â easy Â to Â see Â that Â whenever Â she seemed to be my friend was when she needed something. Like for me to do her Â homework Â so she could go out with some cute guy (I ended up doubling with some jock after I finished her work). Or for me to help her with a school project so she could go to a party and let me tag along as the designated driver. Or for me to give her the answers to some take-home test that Iâ€™d already aced.
It wasnâ€™t that she was dumb, not by any means. She just didnâ€™t Â want to be bothered with the work, and she was smart enough Â to know Â that I wantedÂ to hang out with her and somehow, every time I did, I ended up doing her work while she played. After a while, it wasnâ€™t as much fun to be around her.
Itâ€™s funny that she became an attorney. I think the last time I saw her Â back then was a project on Russian history. No, actually, the last time was, I think, a few hours after we scaled the walls at a concert and the cop grabbed my foot and I shook him off. I prefer to remember Â her that way.
I saw her again not long ago. I felt bad for where her life had gone, not in terms of material wealth but in terms of the way people she loved Â treated Â her…theÂ way they used her.
It made me realize that I hadnâ€™t missed her company, but that her life was less rich for not having me in it as someone who, at one time, really had cared about her.