Aging Like A Fine Wine

I probably wouldn’t have written about my birthday, other than to say it happened and it was a good day as expected. But things happened, and I ended up crying for about half of the day.

When I woke up this morning, it wasn’t because I slept as late as I wanted to and then sat up and stretched like a Disney princess. I woke up to the sound of cats licking milk out of a cereal bowl that one of the kids left on the bookshelf. The cats’ drinking fountain was running low on water, and while there was enough to drink, it wasn’t enough to keep the motor from sputtering. I couldn’t just close my eyes and hope for another hour of shut-eye, especially since the sun was brightly shining which triggered my brain to stay awake.

The house was empty, a product of circumstances out of everyone’s control because my friend has to be elsewhere this week. I slowly ate my breakfast while navigating the offerings of the internet. Eventually I got dressed, debating between whether to wear a more feminine shirt with rhinestones or to wear my Hard Rock Cafe NYC shirt. The Hard Rock Cafe shirt won out, which I wore with blue jeans and my boots. I decided to bring Mom along with me, so I put on the necklace that’s holding her wedding rings. Since the weather was like spring, I donned a black hooded sweatshirt and stepped out the door.

I drove to the mall, opting to get a movie ticket first and then plan my mall trip around that. It was just before noon, and the 11:50 showing of Beauty And The Beast would have been starting already. When I asked for a ticket, I was sold one for the 11:50 showing, so I had no time to waste. I raced across to the other side of the mall’s third floor, away from the box office and towards the theaters. I entered my theater just before the last preview played, and found a decent seat near the center of the room.

Beauty And The Beast was absolutely fantastic! By the time the title card was on the screen, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. Up to that point, it was a beautiful reimagining of the animated movie that I saw in the theater with my parents. I thought about how much Mom would have enjoyed seeing the movie. I thought about her as if she was there in the theater beside me, because she would have been there if she was still alive. But there were so many moments in the movie that made me cry, because so much of the story is dedicated to a parent’s love for their child and the child’s love for their parents in return. If you dropped a hat during that movie, I would start crying, that’s how easily the waterworks began to flow.

And then the movie ended, and I had to compose myself.

Before I did anything else, my next stop needed to be the craft store. The cord on my bracelet was starting to fray, and it seemed like a matter of time before it would snap. While in the craft store at the mall, there was a sale on beads. Okay, I didn’t need to spend any more money than the $1.50 for the cord, but some of the beads caught my eye and I was inspired to make a bracelet like what I’ve seen Kyosuke Himuro wear. I bought the beads, and the cord that I needed, and proceeded to my next stop.

Being a member for every rewards program is sometimes beneficial, even if you don’t frequent the business. I had a free dessert, no purchase required, from TGI Friday’s because it’s been my birth month. I hadn’t used the offer, so I figured that since I would be at the mall anyway, I would redeem it as a treat to myself. I only had a single dollar bill, and I wanted to leave a tip, so I ordered a soda so I had an excuse to use my credit card. I ate the brownie I ordered, then worked to finish my soda while I waited for the bartender to give me the bill. When the bartender asked if I wanted a refill on the soda, I politely declined, but asked for the bill at that moment. He waved me off, wishing me a happy birthday.

I was floored. I couldn’t think straight, not of the dollar bill in my wallet that I could have thrown down or anything. I walked out of the restaurant, trying to process my thoughts. My bladder was suggesting that I should find the bathroom, so I did. While sitting on the toilet, I pulled out my phone and pulled up TGI Friday’s page on Facebook, then typed up a thank you for the good service I had. The person behind their social media responded to me, wishing me a happy birthday and asking for my rewards account information. I passed it along to them, and was eventually gifted with 100 reward points. So not only did I get free dessert today, but I have enough points to go back and get a burger. Or I could get another dessert, if I so desired. The whole thing made me cry, because it wasn’t expected or needed, but I appreciated the gesture so much that it got to me.

Back in the car, because I was trying to figure out how to waste time before dinner, I typed up an e-mail to my friend in Japan. I started by telling him how much of a mess I’ve been. I cried through a movie. I cried over a free drink that I had with my free dessert, that I received free points for appreciating. And I still had dinner with friends to get through, but I didn’t know if I was going to cry through that. I didn’t tell him, but I was crying while typing the e-mail. I wanted to say that I felt like I didn’t deserve to be treated so well by people, but then I couldn’t help but think that maybe I have been good or otherwise deserving of the kindness. I sent the brief message, which helped me feel a little more grounded again.

I drove to where we would be having dinner, then parked my car. It was a gray, cloudy drive. Where did the sun go? I had a pair of nail clippers in the car, and I used the clippers as scissors while I restrung my bracelet to pass the time. Of course, there was still more time that I needed to occupy, so I made my Himuro bracelet. At one of his concerts, Himuro wears a couple of bracelets, one of which looks like a string of onyx beads. I bought black glass beads, which I alternated with wooden beads so it would look similar to the tigers eye and wood bracelet I had restrung.

I also bought some black glass beads that have blue iridescent enamel on one side, and I made a second bracelet with those beads and some wooden beads. As the blue iridescent side doesn’t always show, the bracelet takes on a personality where it coordinates with the Himuro bracelet for part of the time, then stands out on its own at other times. The name I gave that bracelet is rather personal to me, as it evokes feelings of a person I want to see. I was hoping they would surprise me and show up for dinner, but I told myself it wasn’t going to happen because I knew that it would require sacrifices that couldn’t be made so easily. So as expected, I didn’t see the person.

I did, however, have an awesome time with the ones who were there. I had one friend and my cousin, and my friend brought her significant other’s daughter, which made a total of four of us. As the party was all girls, things did get a bit silly.

After dinner was karaoke. I thought I’d start off the night by singing Vamps, but I didn’t pull the English-only song, and I didn’t bring up the romaji lyrics on my phone. As soon as the Japanese characters showed up on screen, a combination of kanji and hiragana, I cancelled the song and uttered an expletive. I could hear laughing out in the lobby, which I hoped was aimed at me because I was laughing at myself so much at that point. My friend picked out a song and performed while I looked for another song to do.

I started to look for anything performed by Himuro at that point. All I could find were two songs by him and one song by Boøwy. The Boowy song was Marionette, which I haven’t listened to too many times and don’t know how the song goes. I would have preferred Welcome To The Twilight or 16. The Kyosuke Himuro songs, which I recognized only by title and the kanji spelling of his name, were Jealousy and Kiss Me. I’m familiar with Jealousy, but I’m more familiar with Kiss Me because YouTube puts it as the first song for my Himuro playlist that’s automatically generated. So, I tried to do Kiss Me, and I stumbled over the timing and pronunciations. I would have rather had his ballads to perform,

Oh well, I still had anything performed by Hyde in one way or another, along with Tetsuya’s music. I did the Tetsu69 song Tightrope, eventually finding the Vamps song that was all-English (Love Addict) and then finishing with Horizon by Hyde. My friend sang Lady Marmalade, Taylor Swift’s song Love Story, and Scarborough Fair along with one other song.

Everyone had places to be, except for me, so we all ended the karaoke session. In the process of leaving, I managed to get a shot of pineapple vodka as a kind of free birthday drink. Then we all headed to our cars… in the rain.

I drove around to waste some more time, as I had a friend who wanted to celebrate with me but couldn’t get out of work until after midnight. So I walked around a grocery store where I used to work, and managed to be seen by people who I didn’t expect to see. One person I talked to was a friend on Facebook who had already wished me a happy birthday on the website, and then wished me a happy birthday again upon seeing me. It was pretty special that I ran into him after the events of my day. I actually paid for his $30-something grocery order after he accidentally left his wallet where he works. To pay me back, he gave me two prints for free of things in the Syracuse area that he’s photographed, one of the prints was framed and would have cost $200.

When I left the grocery store, it was just before midnight. The rain had started to freeze, and snow was falling. I sent a message to the friend who was working until midnight, asking if we could postpone because I didn’t want to be tired, out half the night, and driving on icy roads to get back to where I’m resting my head.

As soon as I got changed into my night clothes, exhaustion set in.

It was an amazing birthday! I don’t think I could ever have a birthday that ends up being “just another day.” I didn’t even try that hard to make this birthday amazing. Between the laughter and the tears, I certainly wouldn’t have changed anything. I’m alive, I made it through another year, and that’s cause for celebration and emotion and anything else that my heart calls out for.

Such as this little guy. My heart wanted him, and I had a coupon because of my birthday. Things will always work out well.

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