Happy Birthday, Wherever You Are

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a head for numbers. Numbers as in dates. Calendar dates.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

I associate so many dates with different people, different events, with birthdays or anniversaries and things we did on those dates,  even  long  ago.  Even  when they’re happy  things,  it’s hard to be joyous  about  them  when those people are gone from your life or you look back and see that things weren’t what you thought.

This time of year…this particular day…always  reminds me of a friend from long ago. Okay, not really a friend. But I wanted her to be.

Looking  back,  it’s  easy  to  see  that  whenever  she seemed to be my friend was when she needed something. Like for me to do her  homework  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 I’d already aced.

It wasn’t that she was dumb, not by any means. She just didn’t  want to be bothered with the work, and she was smart enough  to know  that I wanted  to hang out with her and somehow, every time I did, I ended up doing her work while she played. After a while, it wasn’t as much fun to be around her.

It’s funny that she became an attorney. I think the last time I saw her  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  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  treated  her…the  way they used her.

It made me realize that I hadn’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.