The revelries for my 27th birthday was officially gonna start by the eve of the 21st. People would be greeting me one after the other as soon as the clock ticked 12. It was the universal birthday SOP and there was nothing new about it. I was prepared for that.
But something unexpected happened. Well, to better put it, something we had expected to happen didn’t happen, which, consequently led me to a state of broke-ness.
The Accidental Beginnings.
18 September 2007
The birthday blues were already starting to infect me. In order to prevent us ---me in particular --- from feeling any worse, Dan, Chris and I decided to stick together all night, while waiting for some “good news” to come. It was to arrive at 11pm. We had 3 hours to kill. We decided to eat and have a few drinks, maybe. But where? We barely had the money to get ourselves a Big Mac meal. Dan had an idea --- I’m not sure if it was because of desperation or hunger, but at the moment, it seemed to be the most brilliant suggestion I’ve ever heard from anyone for so long.
He had just what we needed that very moment to be saved from hunger and self-humiliation:
We hurried to the grocery to pick up a bottle of Cabernet Merlot, some sharp, mature cheddar cheese (that was the cheapest), pre-packed sushi, a gallon of apple juice, some plastic cups and a candle. We stalled in the middle of a dark public park and set up our little candlelight dinner there. We may have looked funny and utterly poor. I didn’t care. I was with friends, and we weren’t hungry. And we had booze too! Life isn’t unfair, after all.
At 11, no good news came. Bad news --- there was none either. There was nothing at all that came. We were stood up! We sort of felt sorry and pissed at the same time. More pissed than sorry, though. I was with friends who were just as broke as I was and the impromptu get-together we had officially marked the start of my birthday week. There was no reason to wallow in self-pity. I was broke. But I was loved, nonetheless.
The Story Of The Unwanted Shoes
19 September 2007
*published on Sept. 20, entitled, "I Hope It's Just The Birthday Blues"
20 September 2007
So I have already decided that what I was feeling can be categorized under "Birthday Blues". Just that. Nothing more serious. To wallow even more in self-pity and to cry some more over spilled milk would only be self-indulgence. I decided to keep myself away from my worries. And to keep my mind away from the idea that my birthday was coming. I was doing well until I got to work.
Marvin, one of my favorite straight guys at work greeted me with: "Rye... 12 hours and a half left!" and a wink. Then he started humming the "Happy Birthday" tune. Trying to conceal my dread, I smiled at him and said "Thanks". Then I avoided him all day.
When I got home that night, I headed straight to my room and locked the door. My flatmates were sensitive enough to not mention anything about it.
Hours before midnight, I saw the invite I had been working on even before my birthday blues started to attack. For mre than two hours, I was just staring at it, deciding whether I deserve to have a party. It was scheduled on the 25th. Our payday. By then, my financial troubles would be over. But really, did I deserve to celebrate?
Yes. I did.
As soon as I started creating my Facebook event guest list, Stevie Wonder started singing "Happy Birthday To Ya" from Dan's computer. Mamu came into my room, gave me a hug, and yelled "Happy Birthday!" Dan followed. My phone rang and I got a call from Ricky, my dearly beloved ex. Then a plethora of text messages, phone calls and online im's came pouring in. Whether I liked it or not, it was my birthday. There was no stopping it.