My birthday was fine. I had planned on spending it alone but for a quick trip to my mother's. I have a problem with birthdays, both mine and others. I never remember other people's birthdays and I always become anxious in the days leading up to mine. I don't want people to remember it but I don't wish to be ignored, either. It is a conundrum that I have never adequately solved.
I lolled in the morning until it got late, and then I went to the gym. I took it easy there. "It's your birthday, boy. You don't have to hurt yourself here." And so it was a very pleasant workout. When I finished it was a bit past noon. I decided to shower and to take myself to lunch. I went to my favorite Italian place and had this. . . .
Whatever that's called. The music was romantic old Italian. The wine was a Chianti Classico. I sat at the bar, of course, as is my wont, and as I was waiting for my food, a group of women at a table behind me began singing "Happy Birthday." I was shocked, but when I turned around, they were not singing to me but to a very pretty woman who had a piece of cake with a candle on top in front of her. I thought to tell her that it was my birthday, too, but then decided that it might seem a bit creepy and turned back the other way.
"Volare" was playing.
Halfway through my meal, I had finished my glass of wine. Should I get another, I wondered for a moment, then thought, hell man, it is your birthday. You don't have to drink all of it if you don't want to. And so I motioned the barmaid toward my empty glass. The bottle emptied halfway through the pour.
"I'll have to open another bottle," she said.
"You know, that is all I wanted."
"Yea. . . I truly only wanted half a glass."
"O.K., then, that's on me."
There you go, buddy, I thought. I considered it my b-day gift.
After lunch, I went to see my mother. When I got there, one of the neighbors was sitting out with her. Then another came up on her tricycle. She had an airplane bottle of Sutter Home blush for me. Then two more neighbors showed up. All of a sudden, I had a pop-up party.
When everyone was gone, my mother and I went inside for a bit of our own celebration. She had gotten me a small birthday cake. It was awful. Even she said so. Neither of us could eat it. She gave me some kind of houseplant that I will surely kill in a few weeks.
By five, I was home. My birthday was just about finished and I had suffered no real casualty.
I was thinking about what to do for dinner when there was a knock at the door. Who in the heck could that be, wondered. When I answered, there stood a pretty woman, grinning.
"Hello," she said. "Happy birthday."
I stood stunned and confused grinning foolishly, eye's spinning, brain jumping. Who in the hell. . . .
"I'm Jenna. Your friend Q sent me over."
"I have some presents for you."
This was crazy. What the hell, I thought as she stepped past me and into the house. She stood in the living room for a minute looking around, then suddenly she said, "Here. Do you want to do Molly or coke?" She was holding both hands out before her.
"It's a party. Q said you'd be like this. It's O.K. We're going to have fun. Which?"
I was starting to get it.
"I don't know. I don't really do drugs. What the hell. Hookers and blow, right?"
She went to the table and started chopping up a couple lines.
"Listen. I'm going to pour a whiskey. What are you drinking?"
"Do you have any wine?"
"Oh, dear. . . I have some lovely wines."
"O.K. Hey, listen, I'm going to do the Molly."
What was I in for, I wondered. When I handed her the wine, she handed me a small, hollow tube.
"Jenna," I asked, "how old are you?"
"Twenty-seven," she said.
"That's a little old for a hooker, isn't it?" I laughed.
She held out her hand, opened it, palm up. She was holding a little yellow pill.
"Here," she said, "you'd better take this."
"What is that?"
"Cialis," she said.
"Why would I take that?"
"Uh. . . you're the old one here, buddy," she giggled.
"I don't need that," I said shaking my head.
"Dude, just take it. You're going to need it, I promise."
I guess we partied pretty hard last night. As I write this, she is still sleeping in my bed. She doesn't look as if she is going to get up any time soon. I'd call Q, but the time difference it three hours. I haven't had a woman spend the night for a very long time, and it is a little weird. We'll see what happens when she gets up. I feel O.K., really. A little groggy, slow, but fine. I doubt I'll be doing much today, though.
I ruminate. It was not the birthday I had planned, but it will be memorable. Hookers and blow. Fucking Q. He wanted to kill me, I assume, but it was fun. There are worse ways to go.
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