As I’m sipping my coffee while flipping through magazines, you mention my birthday and I shrug. It’s on a Sunday this year, tomorrow in fact, so we decide on shopping in the village followed by dinner someplace nice with a view of the river we hope to live along one day. Last year I turned forty and the fact that one continues to have birthdays after that seems to have taken me by surprise this year for reasons I cannot explain both because that’s ridiculous and it makes perfect sense. All of this is only to say that much time has passed, many moons have spun across many a midnight sky since I was just a kid who didn’t know better and didn’t think to care about what would become of me in adulthood. As I stand in front of the mirror and toss my hair up in a messy bun, I see it in the hollow of my cheeks. I see it in the pain throbbing behind my sleepy eyes, still smudged with yesterday’s mascara. I’m still smoking and I’m still drinking and I’m still here and in a million ways none of that should be true. There is so much I have that I don’t deserve which should make me sick but mostly makes me numb. I skim through an article about the morbid state of the world which posits that we are very angry, and what we are actually angry at is existence itself and with no where else to go, we take that rage out on each other or turn it against ourselves. To be here is to be lost, to be alone and afraid and left as such until we can find or invent something to cling to that helps us sleep at night without falling into the depths of despair which lurk around each and every corner. To exist is a cruel trick and a breathtakingly beautiful gift, and that dichotomy alone turns us into our own little traps. We want out and we want in and we want what we cannot have and when we get what we want we decide we want something else entirely and start the whole insane cycle over again but we give it sexy names like ambition, drive, success. It is years ago and you and I are drinking vodka at the bar around the corner that we frequented because it was cheap, convenient, and dark. Fuck commitment, we said, Let’s just fuck. No strings, no promises, no cares, no anyone else in the world except you and I and our sin drenched bodies ticking like lust filled time bombs. Heels and handcuffs. Lipstick and collars and secrets we keep deep down inside that make us twitch. We want to be used. We want to drown each other and raise each other from the dead. We want to be brought to our knees and told exactly who and what and how to worship to be saved from the hell of having to decide on our own. We want to be wasted and tasted and make our pretty mark upon a disgraceful world and have something to say about everything, told we are exquisite and mysterious and devastating and special. Or maybe that’s just me. But perhaps you will indulge me, just for a day. Just for a day which falls exactly forty one years after the day I was first welcomed into this hysterical madness. It’s all absurd of course but for what it’s worth, on this cold winter day beneath a wild white confetti sky, I will smile and I will sigh and I will raise a glass to that.