My second colonoscopy

So much different from my first

Got a message from Chad the other night.

Him: [I’ve got the flu.] Would it be possible for you to teach class tomorrow night?
Me: Sorry to hear that. OK.

I’ve actually covered class a couple of times in the past, so that part was fine – kinda fun, I gotta say, because I got to focus on some things that I both really like and need to work on.

What I messed up in, though, was that I scheduled my second colonoscopy for the very next day and had to be up at 5AM doing god-awful stuff to myself.

So, I went in, taught the class, rolled around, and bolted as soon as I could get off the mats and shower.

Her: You did a good job.
Me: You think?
Her: (nodding) That’s one of my favourite moves and you explained it well.
Me: Thanks! That means a lot to me. I appreciate the vote of confidence.

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that I got a colonoscopy almost exactly eight years ago.

Alison made me orange jello.

Don’t remember much about the first time except that she came to pick me up. See, when you have a procedure under anesthesia, you’re required to have someone pick you up.

I remember that Alison took a half-day off from work and came to get me. Didn’t tell you any of that part because it was a such small thing about our day-to-day life.

Had no idea that day that she would be dying less than a year later.

Who the fuck would ever think such a thing?

I didn’t tell you that when she opened the door, she had the widest smile when she saw me.

With the exception of my son, don’t think anyone was ever that happy to see me ever in life.

She thought I was greatest thing and I thought she must have self-esteem issues to think that she couldn’t do better than a fella like me.

Don’t remember what she said when she saw me. I’m sure it was something like, Are you ok, honey?

But I remember that smile. I loved it so.

I remember I was still dazed from the anesthesia and when she came in –  despite our being together for years by that point – thought I was the luckiest guy on the planet that such an important, smart, and pretty girl would take time outta her busy day to pick a nobody like me and make sure I got home ok.

Ah, fuck.

I’ll finish this tomorrow.

I hate the goddamn holidays…

 

Location: home, putting up a Christmas tree and trying to forget things
Mood: sober for now
Music: don’t wanna see what I’ve seen (Spotify)
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My office is moving

I’ll never see it again

While everything was happening, my law firm moved. It’s actually the third office we’ve had since I started working with them.

Told you about the day I started working there so, I figured I should tell you when I left too.

They invited me to a last-minute shindig, which I was going to say no to but then I figured I’d spent enough time hunched over my computers trying to fix my life, so I said, yes.

But, because it was so last minute, I didn’t have anyone to watch the kid.

Boss: Bring him!
Me: You sure?
Him: Why not? It’ll be fine.

So, after school one day, we went over to my old office; didn’t realize at the time that it would be the last time I would step foot into it.

The kid was a hit, of course. But he got super shy.

Boy: Too many people!
Me: But I’m here.
Him: (shakes head) Too many people.

So, he sat outside for a little bit while I chatted with everyone. After a while, the kid started relaxing and relenting. Plus, I promised him dessert.

Him: What is it?
Me: Cheesecake.
Him: I don’t like cheesecake.
Me: What are you, a communist?

Ultimately, he ended up sitting next to me and having some pizza. And pasta. And more pizza. And more pasta. And the aforementioned cheesecake.

He liked the chocolate garnish, just not the cake itself.

My boss handed him keys to part of the office and told him he could keep it. That made him smile. You can see the keys in the picture above, with the red key fob.

One of the lawyers that I’ve known for ages, David, isn’t coming with us, because he’s retiring and focusing on being a professor at the law school where he teaches.

He said some really kind words to me that I’ll keep to myself but I was grateful for the gesture.

A young lady who was the receptionist showed up. The last I saw of her, she had just started law school.

Me: How’s law school?
Her: (puzzled) Law school? I graduated a while ago.
Me: (shaking head) Sorry. I’ve lost so much track of time ever since…doesn’t matter. Where are you now?
Her: (nodding) I’m in the Brooklyn DA’s office.
Me: Wait, you’re an ADA?!
Her: (smiling) Yup!
Me: OMG, lemme see your badge!
Her: (laughs and reaches over for her bag)

It’s funny. All these people that were assistants and receptionists at my firm all went on to have some great jobs and careers.

When Alison first met my boss, she really liked him. We had all these plans, her and I, that never came to fruition.

Me: So, when’s the big move day?
Boss: Next Monday.
Me: Wait, that soon?!

It was then that I realized I’d never be in that office again. That really weighed on me.

In any case, I hope these people manage to get what they hope. Someone should get what they want.

Afterward, the kid and I walked to Grand Central where we met up with a student at our gym at the gourmet cheese shop where he works.

Me: So, this is where you are when you’re not being choked or strangled.
Him: (laughs) Yup.

It was late when the kid and I went home.

Me: Did you have a good time?
Him: (nodding) Your friends are nice.
Me: They are. You tired?
Him: (sleepily shakes head)
Me: Gotcha.


Location: West 76th and Amsterdam, running into a girl I met online in real life
Mood: sick
Music: I just sit here on this mountain, thinking to myself (Spotify)
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Still ever the skillest and killest, Pt 3

An awful gift

It’s funny, when I first met Mouse, she was arm-wrestling a girl in yet another bar. At least, that’s one of the earliest entries where I introduced her to you for the first time.

In any case, she ended up arm-wrestling another girl at Pac’s bday at Solas as well. She won.

After I had my little outdoor escapade with the woman from the bar, I went back to Solas but when I returned, mosta my friends had left.

Since I knew the bouncers, they just waved me and I quickly – well, as quickly as I could considering how snockered I was – went up to where we were all sitting because I remembered I left my camera at the table in our room.

Shockingly, it was still there.

New York’ll still surprise you from time-to-time, I think.

I’d just left and wanted to eat so I wandered around looking for food. This worked out because I ran into Mouse outside on the street.

She was stone cold sober because she was driving the old whip.

Asked her if she’d be willing to give me a lift to the station cause it was super late and she – hesitatingly – obliged.

Figure she could tell I was two sheets to the wind. She’s one of the few that can since I don’t turn red and I don’t act much different to most people.

It was nice being in the whip again; I thought of her and my dad and tried to remember if they met. They didn’t.

It was a short drive – just from 9th and 2nd to 14th and 7th. But along the way, she asked me something that sobered me up right fast.

Her: When we were together, you wanted to die. You were suicidal. But then…you said that you would stay for the boy. (pause) I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t live for me.

Our past conversations were always arguments, always. Lots of yelling and finger-pointing. And anger.

So much anger, from both of us.

This time, though, the way she said it – simply and plainly, no anger, no bitterness, just…simply and resigned – cut through my intoxicated brain.

If I had a space to crawl into to hide, man, I woulda.

Me: (struggling) I don’t know. I was really messed up then. (sighing) I’m so sorry for everything.

She countered – calmly again – that she was often in physical and  emotional pain when we were together. Yet she still helped me – and the kid – despite her own pain. Instead of doing the same and helping her, I was trying to think of ways to kill myself.

The bad thing about being able to forget things is that when you remember them, it’s like you’re experiencing it for the first time. I saw exactly the moment she brought up, as if I was watching it unfold for the first time.

Like Athena in Zeus’s head, that memory grew and, like Zeus, if I coulda, I woulda grabbed a hammer to bash it out.

Honestly, I woulda much preferred she screamed at me. Much.

She pulled up to the station, I stepped out, and she drove away.

Wish I could tell you I said something terribly charming or clever before I left. But I didn’t. For someone never at a loss for words, there I was.

It’s been four years since we were together. I was sleepwalking through life when I met her. Wish I found a way to wake up before she left.

Then again, I wish a lotta things.

I’m still ever the skillest and killest with my deadly weapons and I’m always armed and dangerous.

It’s a truly awful gift.

Him: (out of the blue) I wish I had a sibling.
Me: What?! (deep breath) I’m sorry, kid. I…
Him: It’s ok, papa. I just wish…
Me: (interrupting) I know. We wish a lotta things. I wish that too.

Location: on 79th Street, trying to explain why to him
Mood:
Music: you want nothing in return, I feel guilty (Spotify)
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Still ever the skillest and killest, Pt 2

It’s my life that’s funny

It was Pac’s birthday the other night and he wanted to have something at Solas, as our usual tradition, so I set it up.

Coincidentally, the following picture showed up on my feed on FB the same day.

Again, there’s been a ton of weird coincidences around me lately, although, really, it was for his birthday four years ago, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

Mouse was going to be there this year as well. We’ve not communicated in a while. It’s funny because she and I were two totally different people when that picture was taken.

The moment I arrived, shots were being passed around. The joint was packed – even Tom from Scenic Fights and Katrina showed up.

Pac was having a grand time from the moment he arrived to the moment he stumbled out the door home.

Early on, was able to take some clear pics…

…but, as the night went on, my pics got worse and worse because there was alcohol everywhere…

…so my pics started ending up like this.

Seriously, everywhere.

Met a woman named Jenna at the bar who wanted to come into Pac’s (private) party but I felt that would be rude to Mouse so I told her she couldn’t.

Besides…

Her: …26. You?
Me: (laughing)
Her: (laughing as well) What’s so funny?
Me: My life, darling. Lovely meeting you, reallly.

But there was also a dude that was pestering me all night – I tried to hint that I wasn’t gay – but he kept randomly showing up until Mouse brought him over to sit with us, so I had to leave.

This is Katrina, who is NOT the girl I’m talking about below – and whoever took this shot was way drunker than I.

A lotta of the night was blur. At one point I was outside with another drunk woman who had to pee. Like, right then and there.

Me: We can go back to Solas, you know.
Her: I’m going right here, between the cars.
Me: Wait, what?! (she does so) Welp, this is a new level I’ve unlocked. (later) I’ll join you. Stand in front of me…

In my defense, she had lovely eyes, I had a lot to drink, and she was very convincing.

There’s more but this is getting long and I’m writing it on a train pulling into Penn Station, so I’ll continue it later on this week.

Location: on a train just outside Plainfield, NJ, writing this and tomorrow’s entry
Mood: guilty
Music: should have fallen out of love with you by now (Spotify)
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Still ever the skillest and killest, Pt 1

Burying dead things

It’s been an odd week.

Some relatively recent friends (formally) exited my Venn Diagram while others came back for a visit.

Years ago, the Devil told me, “We’re not friends. We’re friendly, but we’re not friends. There’s a difference. Don’t get it twisted, kid.”

Found myself saying similar those exact words to someone else at a Japanese restaurant this past week and – for a moment, at least – I was my old self again.

Me: For what it’s worth, it was mature of you to reach out to me to talk. I never woulda myself because it’s not in my nature.
Him: (slowly nodding) I only know you after Alison…died. I’m still getting used to who you really are.
Me: Gotta be honest, I don’t care. But, our interests are aligned: What you want and what I want are the same. Let’s just get the job done. Whatever personal feelings we have towards the other are irrelevant. (later) To be clear, I felt I owed you a debt. I consider the debt paid – in full. I don’t owe you shit. But, it cut both ways, you don’t owe me shit either. I just wanna come in, do my shit, and leave. We’re both professionals, let’s act as such.
Him: As skilled as you are with a knife, you cut better with words than anyone I know.

It was perfectly eloquent and cruel, but I suppose it was true and I deserved it.

After all, he’s right. I’m ever the skillest with my sharp objects, the killest with my blunt instruments.

Fuck it. I’m getting tired of apologizing for and hiding who and what I am.

A woman I dated briefly dropped me a line earlier this month and then again this week.

She made me laugh.


And then Rain hit me up to chat about stuff. Oddly, someone just asked me earlier today if he and I were still in contact.

There’s definitely something weird in the air. In any case, it was good catching up with him.

Me: Jesus Christ – you have hair! And it’s grey!
Him: Man, you look exactly the same. I can’t believe you still have all your hair and it’s black.
Me: I’m as surprised as you are.

We got onto the topic of buying some grass-fed beef together because…of course we did.


Weirder still, a girl I met on the train three years ago randomly dropped me a line recently as well.

What on earth is going on?


It’s was Pac’s birthday this past weekend.

Had a hangover for the first time in over a decade but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

Location: earlier today, my kitchen, baking two dozen cookies and a pan of lasagna for my favourite tiny human
Mood: Same as the song
Music: Well, fuck ’em, fuck ’em, fuck ’em all (Spotify)
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Two Pizza Joints, an Indian Restaurant, and a Park – Pt 1

Simple things of kindness

Recently, my past came to visit me and I went to visit my past.

Regarding the former, my buddy Ed came into town with his kid the other day. His son’s heading off to NYU this fall as a freshman.

I met him here via my then-girlfriend, the Doctor. He actually ended up living in my building for a spell, which was maybe 20 years ago?

It’s funny, we used to hang out alla time, but we lost touch after he moved back to Cali. My life is a series of endless venn diagrams.

It was such a kick-in-the-head to see him here with his almost-adult son.

Brought them to John’s Pizzeria at Times Square so they could (a) check it out since it’s in an old cathedral and (b) they wanted really good, authentic NYC pizza, which this definitely was.

The last time I went, it was October of 2017 with Gradgirl. She said it was an awful date – it might have been one of our first – and she wasn’t wrong.

Didn’t tell you about that because I was such a mess back then. Not that I’m not still starkers now.

Do think that, if circumstances were different, she and I might have had something. Maybe even a fatty of our own right now.

Fucking cancer is the awful gift that keeps on giving.


On a related note, it’s funny, for a long time, I divided up my life by the women I seriously dated/cared for.

Everything’s been such a mess since…you know…

Everything and everyone just blends together into a soupy, grey, mess.

Anywho, it was nice seeing Ed and his kid. I joked that, despite us being roughly the same age, I had a second-grader while he had a freshman in college.

Me: Give me a buzz if you need anything. I’ve been here my whole life and I’ll probably die here too.
Him: For sure, thanks! (later) Anyplace else we should head to?
Me: (thinking) Go to Hudson Yards. I always loved that place.

As for the latter, and on the topic of ex-girlfriends and my past, that’s a much longer story.

Essentially, I tried to visit an old version of myself but it didn’t pan out – at all – like I’d hoped. Lemme explain:

It all started when I hit up Blond Banker to see if she wanted to catch a show (totally as friends).

She countered with an invite to go to a mixer with some co-workers of hers for a project that she was volunteering for – out in Jersey City.

Her: I’m going to Barcade tonight. You can come to that if you want
Me: Hmm, ok, I’m down! Any particular dress code or just don’t be a schlub?
Her: Just how you’d dress for Barcade.

Since she wasn’t planning on getting there until after 6:30, I slipped into kali for 45 minutes before I hopped the PATH across the river.

On the way there, I sat down next to this one hulking dude and he turned to me and said, That’s a cool tee-shirt, man.

I got two more compliments before I arrived in Jersey City and one more when I was at the bar.

Man, simple things of kindness really make your day, don’t they?

Me: Get home safe, man!
Him: (smiling broadly) Oh, you too!

The last time I went to Grove Street in Jersey City, was May 5th, 2013 – Cinco de Mayo – almost a decade ago.

Alison and I went there for a chili cookoff and we met up with a couple from my old gym. Don’t think I ever saw them again.

Venn diagrams, like I said.

This was almost a decade ago in 2013. I have pictures of alla these randos but not of Alison.

It hurts because I keep thinking, if Alison was alive, I could ask her questions like what did we wear and what was that game we played?

Do you know how many pictures I have of her that day? Zero. Zero fucking pictures, because she didn’t like being photographed.

Sigh.

I’ll pick this up tomorrow. Suddenly got super tired.

Location: tonight, having my arm relentlessly attacked in kali
Mood: thoughtful
Music: God knows it’s not supposed to be easy (Spotify)
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Memorto Mori

Remember that you have to die

One of the three books I feel everyone should read is The Godfather. The movies are great, but the book is worlds better because both the Godfather and Michael are good men in the books but monsters in the films.

Michael essentially agrees to run a mafia family in The Godfather to keep his own (real) family safe. But in The Godfather II film, he seems to forget why he agreed to run the mafia family – something he hated, originally – in the first place and ended up losing his wife and killing both his brother-in-law and his own brother for “the Family.”

He killed his real family for his fake family.

The tragedy of the Godfather films is that Michael forgot why he was there in the first place.

I’m telling you all this because I told someone from my past that I forgot that I loved her, which is why I was so awful to her.

Granted, there was a lotta craziness in my life when I met her, but it’s not very comforting to her or me.

The question she had, though, was obvious: “How is that possible? How do you forget you love someone?”

I ask myself that all the time.

And my answer is just like Michael did with Kay and Fredo. Just like men and women do when they cheat – emotionally or physically – on their spouse.

On normal days, people forget important – crazy important – things all the time. People forget to pick up their kids, forget to show up for some super important meeting, etc.

They forget what they really wanted in the first place, mistaking the noise for signal.

People even forget – all the time – that they’re going to die. That’s why the saying, memorto mori even exists. People forget to make the most of their time because we’re all not here long. But we forget that.

Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.

For her, she forgot that I was everything she had hoped her whole life for a date with a guy that she forgot she loved (not me, it’s complicated) who ended up marrying someone else.

And I forgot that I loved her, which, itself, is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Cancer and awful luck notwithstanding, I suppose we all live the lives we earn for ourselves.

Location: learning about officiating weddings in NJ
Mood: resigned
Music: you didn’t notice (Spotify)
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Always? No. Not always.

Fast as you can

Her: Have you always been such an asshole, Logan?
Me: Always? (thinking) No. Not always.

It’s been a busy – and rough – few weeks. Trying to sort it all out.

Like always.

On a related point, I was in a car with another woman from my past the other night, well past midnight.

We weren’t so much talking as she was yelling at me, unabated.

Not that it wasn’t deserved. People have always been a mystery to me; when emotions are involved, all the more so.

And with this woman, that relationship ran every single emotion in the book. Neither one of us were angels but I’m definitely not proud of myself for a lot of it.

Her: Get out.

It was a long trip back.

Wrote her an email apologizing for how things went down with us but didn’t hear back from her, which I expected. I’m not sure I’d write me back either.

She teared up in the car and I wanted, desperately, to give her a hug. But, instead, I just sat back, afraid to make things even worse.

Which would be, admittedly, impressive because it was fuck-all already.

FWIW, I never intend to hurt anyone but it seems that’s what I’m best at. Like I said years ago, I’m the skillest with my sharp objects. The killest with my blunt instruments.

My weapons of choice are a sharp tongue and blunt words.

I’ve only gotten more skilled since then, what with all the trauma.

My last serious girlfriend before Alison called me a monster. Maybe Alison was an outlier, who never saw me as I really am.

Suppose I’m grateful for that.

Have you ever heard Fiona Apple’s Fast as You Can?

There’s a line that goes, Fast as you can, baby, scratch me out, free yourself. Fast as you can, baby. Run, free yourself of me.

That sounds like a good plan for her and everyone else. I’m great at glib relationships, shit at important ones.

Except with Alison, for reasons I’ll tell you all about one day. Maybe.

But she’s no longer here. So, what about the kid? He can’t scratch me outta his life and Alison’s not here to counter-balance my beast.

I’m not good with people in any meaningful, normal way. How can I make it so that the kid is?

In a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the mother is terrified the kids will grow up like her alcoholic husband.

I’m terrified the boy will grow up just like me.

Location: a few days ago, the middle of nowhere Brooklyn at 2AM
Mood: resigned
Music: My pretty mouth will frame the phrases that will disprove your faith (Spotify)
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Dear Alison, it’s 2022…

It’s been five years

Dear Alison,

It’s been five years since you died. Half a decade. That blows my mind.

This May is better than it’s been in the past, which – honestly – isn’t saying all that much.

The boy and I both miss you terribly. Well, I do. He misses a daydream of what he thinks you are. If only he knew how much better you really were.

The place is a mess but I’m trying my best. I just started making my bed, though. It only took 49 years.

God, you’d love this kid so much, honey.

He’s made of peanut butter and awesome. He can sing! Like, legit sing and play an instrument. No lie.

I’m so proud of him, I could burst, babe. You would be too.

I love him like a fat kid loves cake.

I love him because, he’s ours.

There’s so much more – good and bad – but I’m tired. I try my best not to think of you because things go dark when I do and I can’t go dark with the boy around.

I am his guard, after all. I have a job to do.

So I busy myself all these ridiculous things like strangers, Scenic Fights, and Paxibellum, but I’m just passing the time. Honestly, I would have been thrilled if I had the chance to spend the rest of my life just being your big-headed husband and the boy’s papa.

That would have been glorious.

Do you remember that stupid Blackadder joke I told you about years ago?

Him: Life without you is like a broken pencil.
Her: (puzzled) Explain?
Him: Pointless.

I think about that joke almost every goddamn day.

But lately, as always during this time, I find myself wishing that you were here and I was not. But, you knew that. You always loved life so, whereas, I always just loved you.

I’m going to put you away in my head again because I have to. It’s the only way I’ve made it this far. It’s the only way I can do my job.

But I’ll love you until the end of the world.

You knew that too, I suppose.

I miss you so much. It’s agony.

Our boy is the only thing that keeps me here. Because, I hate it here without you.

It’s all so pointless. It’s all so fucking pointless.

The Hubs

In My Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

 

Location: my possible pasts
Mood: heartbroken
Music: Not for better (Spotify)
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Grief and I are old friends

Falling in love, repeatedly

The boy’s away for spring break so I’ve been catching up with people when I can.

Before he left, though, I went to his school for career day.

Me: OK, so I have few jobs I do. I’m a lawyer, I run a building, I own part of a gym, and I teach people how to fight. Which one do you…?
Kids: Fight!

That made me laugh. The boy looked so happy and proud of me, I coulda burst.

This fella – don’t remember who – once said that you don’t just love your kids, you fall in love with them. I’ll add to that: Repeatedly.

Gotta say, that’s spot on.

Him: Thanks for coming, papa!
Me: Sure. Thanks for being glad I came, kid.

 

Met someone recently that I’ll call Heidi. In many ways, she reminds me of Daisy; dealing with a lotta things, ranging from simple heartache to some serious horrors.

Her: It’s sweet that you’ll listen to a stranger. I’m sorry I’m crying.
Me: After my wife died, strangers listened to me. So, I figured I’d pay it forward. And you should never apologize to anyone for your honest emotions.
Her: Whatever happened with the last girl?
Me: (shrugging) We were awful to each other, in our own ways. I suppose –  not that it’s an excuse – that we were both trying to survive. Which is what you’re trying to do now: Whatever you need to do to survive.
Her: That’s the first helpful thing anyone’s told me.
Me: Unfortunately, grief and I are old friends.

Saw the Acrobat, briefly and I’ll just keep the details of that to myself. We’re both unmoored in the world, but for very different reasons.

I suspect we’re all looking for home, but she’s a leaf in the wind and I’m a ship on the waves.

Because of that, what we want for ourselves are two very different ideas of home.

Sunday, it was my birthday.

I’m 40-freaking-nine. I cannot believe it.

Him: Honestly, you’re like a vampire, Logan. I don’t think you’ve aged a day in the two decades I’ve known you.
Me: I always believed that I just aged slower than other people, for a buncha reasons. (thinking) But the last six years aged me more than any other time in my life, I think. So, I’m catching up.

Of course, I did the traditional Chinese breakfast of cooking a six-pound pork shoulder overnight and waking up early to make a Cuban Sandwich for myself with an overly sweet, hot cuppa joe.

Birthday brekkie of champions.

Her: You spent your birthday alone? (laughing) You need better friends. I would have taken you out.
Me: I know. I appreciate that. It’s fine. I’m not sure how good company I’d be, anywho.

My birthday always falls around Easter but this time it fell on Easter. I remembered that Alison made a whole weekend of plans for me once and we caught the Easter parade too.

This year, I wanted to see it alone.

But I didn’t quite make it – partly because Heidi called me, and partly because, I hit the grief button because Heidi called me and I couldn’t.

I was doing so well.

Maybe next year.

Location: home, baking four dozen high-protein chocolate chip cookies for him
Mood: allergic to life
Music: you are flowing like a river, washing right over my soul (Spotify)
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