Monday, July 30, 2007
Happy Birthday To Me
pen and ink on paper
I hate birthdays.
I made a promise to myself that I shall never tell the truth of my age until I hit the age of forty. And now I am scared. Pretty soon, I am bound to accept the truth.
“Happy 3_th Birthday!” Sheila croaked as she lifted her cup at my pre-birthday gathering last Saturday.
As I was trying to muster a fake smile of approval, she continued to happily chirp to the rest of my friends that night, “I know Dan. You never admitted it until I saw the year you were born in your SSS. Now you cannot lie about your age!” I suddenly felt my fake smile turn into a frown. If I do not love that woman, the friendship I hold so dear with her and her two boys, I swear she can join Mary Antoinette for yelping my age.
“Happy birthday tol,” Arnan greeted me as he handed me a shirt from Debenham.
“Thanks man. Hehehe, sosyal ah. I love this shirt and it’s the right color pa,” I happily told him.
“How are your kids?” I asked him.
“They’re fine. They’re doing well at STC. I told you that one of your nieces is my daughter’s classmate, right?” he said.
“Yeah, but I doubt if that niece of mine knows me. She’s a cousin’s daughter and I never met her,” I confided.
“Yeah, my wife asked her if she knows you. She said no. Hey, didn’t you know we had a high school reunion?” he told me and the rest of that afternoon we talked and talked about the days when we were kids and how our childhood friends are right now.
“I’m glad you came,” I told my friend.
“Yeah, me too. And I like your place. You seem to be living now what we used to talk of when we were kids,” he told me as I was accompanying him to my gate.
“I guess I am. Thanks. Too bad you can’t stay and meet the rest of my friends. They’re a pretty interesting bunch,” I said.
“I’m sure they are. You’ve always been the strangest in our group in school,” he said with a huge grin.
“I was?” I had to ask.
“Bring me flowers instead,” I told Andre. “I don’t care even if they’re the cheap kind or if you just pick them from the roadside basta bring flowers”
“Hay naku, oo na! You’re in your flower mode na naman ngayon,” he willingly obliged.
I used to buy flowers for my mother every time there’s an occasion. Birthdays, anniversaries, fiestas or anytime I feel like it. And I thought, why hasn’t anyone given me flowers? I like flowers. I couldn’t care less if it’s unusual to give a man flowers but I like the idea of at least someone doing it for me.
“Thank you so much dong. I am very happy. They’re beautiful!” I exclaimed when I opened the door and there was Andre holding several huge bundles of flowers.
“You should no! I look like I’m going to a funeral with these,” he remarked as he passed me by and with his heavy feet he went upstairs.
“Pole dancing,” my nephew Deus said as he winked naughtily and gave me that characteristic smirk of his when he got down from the car.
“Tito Dan, Happy Birthday. You should do pole dancing,” his brother Wiggy whispered in my ear as he too followed his brother.
“What the hell are they saying now?” I asked my brother, the boys’ father, as he was checking the car’s locks.
“Hay naku. Your nephews were watching the news and they saw this segment on pole dancing as a new wave in exercising. They kept on harping the whole night that Tito Dan should start doing the same thing,” my brother told me.
And the two boys kept on buggering me the whole night to pole dance.
“Don’t you just wish that after you’ve done with a dinner or a party for a whole bunch of people, that you could just put all the dishes, pots and pans in one big trash bag and have the garbage man pick them all up for you and everything’s clean again?” I quipped to Thad as he was helping me with the dishes.
“It’s okay. It was fun,” he said. “Besides, you seem to have enjoyed it.”
“Yes, I did. It’s good to know and have your friends and family around you. Even if sometimes my nephews and best friends won’t quit harping about my age or pole dancing,” I muttered while I swept the floor.
After an hour and everything was clear, I sat down exhausted on a chair.
“I think I am coming down with the flu. My nose is already clogged up,” I complained.
“You need to rest,” Thad reminded me.
He was the last person to leave that night and I thanked him profusely for helping me clean up the mess. After I bade him good night and he boarded a cab, I went upstairs, looked at my clean flat empty of friends and family that came that night and thought to myself, “It’s a good thing nobody brought a cake or candles.”
I sighed, closed my lights and slept.