Today is your birthday. Most of the year I can avoid thinking about you with just a little effort. It's either gotten easier with time or I've gotten better with practice. July 5th is the toughest one for me. There have been five July 5ths since we stopped waking up together. Yes, I have been counting.
You were the last thought I had before drifting off to sleep last night. That explains how I woke up this morning...moving my head gingerly on the pillow to avoid waking the sleeping giant of a hangover but moving my bottom in a deliberate wiggle to ensure waking another giant. I was confused for a split second when my eyelids parted and the sunlight didn't feel like shards of glass entering my skull and when my wiggle didn't result in a kiss on the back of my shoulder and a whole other metaphor that I'm going to leave entirely up to the imagination and memory. There was a split second of grief that I wasn't waking up with you, to you...but that split second was followed by seconds, moments, hours of my grateful heart celebrating your existence all day long.
You were my best friend and my most passionate love, but we were a mess...you and I. We were struggles and confusion and conflict and tortured, twisted, torn loyalties. We were white-hot and that kind of heat is a gift that we were ill equipped to handle. But there is no room for those kind of thoughts on this day, I won't be celebrating US in my mind and heart. I will be celebrating YOU. I will be rejoicing that this day marks the beginning of the existence of a unique, energetic, intelligent, imaginative, curious human being with boundless energy and charisma. I will be playing club music and remembering what it felt like to move in sync with you on the dance floor. I will be making Thai Lettuce Wraps and remembering the joy you took from presenting new dishes. I will be hiking and taking you with me in my mind's eye...blazing the trail ahead of me and keeping my way free of danger. I will be celebrating your you-ness in a bazillion little ways, keeping that version of you alive.
I will imagine you blowing out your candles and wonder if there is a small wish in your heart that we had reined in our greed when we had the chance so that this complete isolation from one another hadn't become so necessary.