You'd expect to feel depressed about reaching 50, but I don't. I've been planning my party, looking forward to seeing all my friends, wondering what Mr. Nomist is planning behind my back. I've been excited. Every time I tell someone it's going to be my 50th, they don't seem to believe me. Cool, even if they're lying through their teeth.
Last week I finally got to exchange emails with Jesse's former girlfriend. It took a lot of weight off me to talk about him, about what was going on with him that last year, and to find out, fortuitously, that he'd always remembered my birthday, even when he was too stubborn to call. He always made a big deal about birthdays, she said. I don't know why that made me happy, but it worked. Maybe remembering all the birthday parties when he was little, how much I loved working out a theme, baking and decorating the cake, assembling his friends. His birthday was May 11 so it was almost always a good day for a party in the park. Sometimes, it fell on Mother's Day, and when it happened while he was in school, he called me and scolded me for not calling him first to wish him a happy birthday. Funny kid. I'd called him on Friday to do that, because I never knew when he'd answer his cell.
My walk to work this morning felt light and sunny. It's my birthday. I could feel Jesse near me, a kind of forgiving, encouraging sense. Be happy, and I was. When I get to the park, I picture Jesse walking Laser, his dog, reveling in the warm weather, things starting to grow, the movement of people around him. I know he can hear me now. I'm so sorry, I tell him. And then I want to cry. I don't know why I can't move past that.