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Miscellaneous mistakes

All downhill from here

I cried on my sweet sixteen.

While my parents sang “Happy Birthday” in thick, heavy accents, and lit candles were dancing to the tune of their breaths, and wax began to dripping bit by bit on the bright yellow ice-cream cake, I started to sob.

I didn’t mean to nor did I have much of a reason to tear up. Birthdays were supposed to be the happiest days of my life. In fact, they were my life entirely. Because of that day way back when, I had the chance to be happy in the first place.

And my tears weren’t meant to suggest otherwise; my birthday was special to me. For some, this was obviously not the case. There was no significance behind the date. In 1992, it was just another Friday that signaled a cloudy beginning of a weekend. Some, I’m sure, even moaned that their plans would have to change because of the inclement weather.

My parents might have thought the same those twenty-two years ago. Who knows? They may have wanted to go dancing or see a movie or work a bit longer to afford all that I would ask them for. I wasn’t ready to come out yet. Neither was my twin.

But then Friday came and push came to shove in more ways than one and I was born silent as a whisper. I did nothing to deserve the glory. I just flopped out like a fish on land. I couldn’t even breathe right those first few weeks.

When I turned sixteen, I similarly had difficulty both taking the congratulations for the day and inhaling and exhaling. Snot was seeping into my mouth.

The celebratory song ended off-key and early. My sniffles echoed throughout the dining room. My dad weighed his words, then said, “What is wrong?”

I replied, “Nothing.”

He looked at me, and then asked if we wanted to blow the rest of the candles out. My twin and I said yes, and we did, only having to take  a second breath each before all of them went out.

I look back, now six years older to the date, and I don’t think it was just pubescent anxiety getting the better of me. Nor was it because I had some seventy years left. Instead the obnoxious, whale-like tears were a realization that I didn’t know anything about myself and where I wanted to go. I knew very little at all. I had only just arrived here sixteen years ago. But I knew that I wasn’t supposed to cry on my birthday, yet I couldn’t help it. I was growing old faster than I could understand. And there was nothing to do against it all.

Since then, my birthdays haven’t been much different. I’ve wondered what I am supposed to feel and how I’m supposed to get there. More often than not, I don’t feel any different than I did the day previously.

Yet little insignificant moments pile up significantly. There’s that time you had your first kiss and when you laughed until a Sour Patch kid came out of your nose and you made love for the first time. In between the space and time of then and now where every morning was a little birth and every night a little death, everything changed.

By then, you’ll be twenty-two, and you’ll be sitting in a unaired basement in shorts with glasses tilted on your face, little electrical wires for a beard, and your socks are off because you are feeling uncomfortable in your shoes. You flex your fingers, drink your tea, and look at the clock. It is 12:01 a.m. It is Thursday. And it is your birthday.

Later it will be too, whenever that is, and you’ll be doing other things. Until then, you hope to make sense of the routine of every day, including on your birthday. You hope to be successful. And you hope to not have to hope for anything really.

That is the one wish you ask for and it is the one wish you’ll never get.

So, instead, keep blowing those candles, keep saying thanks for the happy birthday, and move on, with your head squirming first, then your body following along, then your legs flailing one after another. Because life, as far as you understand it, is not about the birthday. It is about all other days before and after it because without them, and their daily monotony and cycles and ups and downs, your birthday would mean nothing at all.

Enjoy them. Enjoy everything. And don’t cry because the cake tastes pretty good after all.

About kacperniburski

I am searching for something in between the letters. Follow my wordpress or my IG (@_kenkan)


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