I wanted to call you. On my birthday I wanted to call you. I didn’t know what exactly I would say. It was a week ago now, so I’m not sure why I had such a strong urge to call you. I think I thought that my name on your caller id would remind you that it was my birthday, and that you would pick up singing off-key, “Haa-ppy Biiiirrth-daaay tooooo youuuuu…” That you would forget that we haven’t spoken in six months, and that the summer time would return, and that we would be chatting on the phone about the outrageous weather and global warming and the precarious state of the American adolescent.
You know, writing about it makes me remember my sarcasm. I think what it really was pressuring me to call you on my birthday was my sarcasm. I wanted to call you to say “Happy Birthday to me” with no real expression others than disappointment. Then I would hang up, leaving you to think about the ways you’ve hurt me and have ruined my life – all because you didn’t say “Happy Birthday.” I don’t know what happened that day. Maybe you were with a friend – an intimate one, even, I don’t care – or maybe you were busy with work since you had just returned from a vacation. Maybe you decided the last time I hurt you was the last time I would hurt you and so you excommunicated me completely. I understand, I guess. Maybe…
I hope it was easy. I hope you woke up on my birthday and brushed your teeth. I hope you ate salami with fried egg for breakfast. I hope you didn’t give it one thought when you saw January 4 on the top of the newspaper and on your watch and on your phone. I hope you dropped ketchup on yourself during lunch. I hope your train came on time. I hope dinner was so good you Instagrammed it. I hope you walked down the block with a blunt in your brother’s fingers. I hope you laid your head to rest easy with your iPod on shuffle. I hope it was 12:01 on January 5 when you woke up having to pee with Donny Hathaway in your earphone. Heee ain’t heavyyy, he’s my brother… And I hope that’s when you finally remembered my face, and that’s when you remembered my name, and that’s when you remembered that this was our song, and that’s when you remembered that it was my birthday… But it was yesterday. Oh well, too late, you thought and moved along to the bathroom. I hope it was that easy, honestly.
Because – and this I realized after hating you (and finally texting you something pathetic) – I can’t say it was that hard to forget you. And that’s what makes this hurt so bad. It was simple for me to unsubscribe from your Facebook updates, scarce as those were. It was easy to not text you about your stressful job search, or about what life was like once you got your job. Even when I saw your face during a Donny song or an Unplugged song, it was easy to press Next. It was easy to call you and tell you we were over. Easy to say goodbye.
It wasn’t all that easy. Of course, I had long moments of blues and missing you, but those were coupled with moments, just as long, of stoicism and abandon. But you don’t know that. Maybe you do. I think the ultimate point – the point that won’t let me write more of our story – is that it doesn’t matter. Finally, you’ve done what I’ve wanted you to do for years and that is move on.
You didn’t forget my birthday, you ignored it. And hell, I hope you unsubscribed from my Facebook updates also, as often as I post. I’m hurt, but that doesn’t matter because it’s an irrational pain. The rationale is all in the natural fucked up progression of our relationship. We were “soulmates” (ha!), I hurt you, I hurt you, I hurt you, you figured it out, you moved on. I hurt throughout it all, but that doesn’t matter because you were hurting too, so I don’t matter. I mean that. I was selfish. Too selfish. So selfish that all I thought about was me, even when I talked about thinking about you. And finally, you’ve moved on. I’m hurt, but I’m so proud.