Happy Birthday

I went to our favorite hang out tonight to toast you on your birthday. You would have turned 56 today. There were no funny cards today, no jokes about you being older than I am, no laughter and wise cracks and moans about the hell of aging going back and forth. But you were there. No, you get to be the forever younger one, from now on. It was harder than I thought it was going to be; going back to our favorite place, ordering our favorite drink. Walking up to the door, my chest tightened, my breathing was difficult; I stilled myself because I was meeting your daughter. We were going to wish you a happy birthday together. I wanted to get there ahead of her, just to give myself a moment. I knew it might be tough. The first person I saw was our waitress; the one that always waited on us. She smiled that big, happy smile and said, “Hey Girl! you meeting your friend?” and I lost it. “My friend died. It’s her birthday. I’m here for her birthday”, was all I could get out as I wept, out in the open, out in the middle of City Range. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, my heart hurt, everything looked so familiar, yet I knew it would never be the same again. She embraced me right there as I waited on your daughter, then lead me to our table. She was shocked and saddened and tears filled her eyes as we reminisced about our times there. She offered to get me a drink and I lost it again. It took me several tries before I could get the words out through the tears but I ordered, just the way we always did: a vodka martini, up dirty, very bruised with 3 blue cheese olives. They did an excellent job. Although, I’m sure you would said they cheated you on the amount, they didn’t bruise it enough and could you get 3 more olives! Boy, how I miss you. You were there though. Your daughter came, she looked so much like you. Tonight, she even acted like you – from asking to put her chicken salad in their refrigerator, taking the bread home, a card that didn’t work and even a to go water. It was deja vu all over. It was a nice birthday. You were toasted, you were honored. You were loved.

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