It’s Diane’s birthday, and I am emptier than I thought I would be. It’s a range of emotions, from brick wall armor to histrionic mess. I, like I do every year, remember the first birthday present I ever sent her. I conspired with my mom when I was 13 to send her flowers at school when she was a teacher at Hodges Bend- a rosebud with a card that read, “for all you do, this bud’s for you.” Then, I called 104.1 KRBE and had them announce her birthday over the radio.
Her totem animal is a dragonfly, so one year I got her a toilet seat with a huge dragonfly embroidered on it. It was so tacky it hurt. Then for Christmas I got her a turquoise bracelet with a card that said she deserved it because I totally Punk’d her on her birthday.
Today it’s all about the good memories so I don’t drown in bad ones. In my head, we’re singing “Happy Birthday” together at Bridgeport, dueling divas style, because we had that shit wired. When our voices connect, there’s so much power it’s a magnetic field.
I have to be careful that my thoughts stay on the ground, because my tendency on these days is to sit and stare into the Mirror of Erised and the dichotomy is so stark my breath becomes fight-or-flight.
But I totally nailed that rosebud thing.