It’s my birthday and I’m really fucking mad at you. I guess it’s me, really. I’m mad at myself. I don’t know why I looked at my phone, at Facebook, expecting something. Just a small acknowledgement. Anything, really. A simple “happy birthday” would have done it, the kind of thing acquaintances send, the girl I sat next to in Biology class 4 years ago, Sephora emails. Saying “happy birthday” is about as basic as it gets.
I guess I expected something that reassured me I was still a thought somewhere in your mind. That you remember me. That I was important. But instead, it’s as if I wasn’t ever in your bed this summer, that you never caressed my face with your rough fingertips. How you told me you loved me. Platonically. Okay. Right. Right. We were only ever just friends. But you kissed me and sucked all the air out from my lungs repeatedly. I guess the way only friends do, that’s what you’d tell me, right?
We’re just friends, remember? But don’t friends say happy birthday? Friends let you know they’re thinking of you. Maybe you just don’t anymore. Hell, a guy I hooked up with two summers ago sent me a “Happy birthday, Ari!!” text and we’re not even Facebook friends. He just remembered my damn birthday. And here, you have a cheat sheet. Facebook tells you. But nothing. Like I’m nothing.
I think I was always nothing to you.
Maybe that’s why you’ve been so difficult to let go of. When I first moved away, I told my friend through ugly sobs, “I honestly think this hurts more than anyone. I think I loved him more than anyone.” How sick that is! That I’m convinced I loved you more than true relationships I had. Boys who actually gave me their hearts instead of just their dicks. And yet, you. You are the one who remains. You are the goddamn face I can’t erase. I want to make this poetic and not pathetic, and I just can’t. But here it is.
It’s almost 11:30 pm on my birthday and you haven’t said anything. And I’m so, so mad at you.
It’s trivial. It’s childish. It’s foolish. It’s so many things I shouldn’t be feeling. But I think of your birthday, how you bloodied your fists by punching a wall because you were so upset over something, and I rushed over. I rushed to your side, and let you rest your head on my chest. I listened to you drunkenly spill your guts. You talked about your ex, how she was now dating a friend of yours. I could see how much everything hurt you, and I ached. That was the night I knew I loved you. Because seeing you in pain hurt a thousand times more than knowing we’d never be what I hoped.
I told you I would sleep on the couch, but you said you needed me. You said you needed me. So I slept in bed with you, let you hold me. In the middle of the night, you kissed me. But you didn’t remember in the morning.
But my birthday?
That’s all I ever was to you,
I know I will find someone who gives me something in return. I just had to finally realize that person will never be you.