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Birthday Cake

It’s a beautiful Fall day, and as I was taking the garbage out earlier I saw a smashed up birthday cake in the dumpster, bees buzzing around it. There were left over party bags, a storage container, a table. Is it weird how taking the garbage out reminds me just how many people live here, in this apartment? So many lives and so many things going on all at once simultaneously. Lots of hearts beating. Lots of birthday cake.

Today is my mom’s birthday and she’s in Oregon with my sister. I don’t know how she does it, but she plans on driving home today, too. What a long drive. Here I am at home, my day off being a Monday, different from most people around me. Justin is at work to bring home the bacon as they say, and I am left with the quiet. Alicia and I talked last week about the quiet of our own minds. I long for this kind of quiet, the content kind. To not need a to-do list or to feel like a failure if this or that isn’t done. To find peace within myself.

The final countdown has started where the three of us will be parting ways soon. In December our lease is up, and we will officially go our separate ways. My gal Alicia calls it homeostatic anxiety, if you will. The need for things to be unchanging when in fact things are always changing and therefore, how does one adapt to said changes. Neither me nor Justin do well with change. Just moving in together and getting married was culture shock. Now wherever we move to in December, I pray for cheap rent, because no one likes to move in the holidays. I also pray to simply be able. Able to adapt to an environment without my mom. She has been with me since day one when I came to Folsom, a few years ago. I was much different then.

My boyfriend at the time was a tattoo artist back in San Diego, and I was still a part time optician. I didn’t have my ABO certification, although I had failed the exam once. My best friend Judy was in San Diego, and I had no friends here. No connections at all except my mom, and some of her friends, who became my friends too. My hair was shorter, I was more slender. My eyebrows were thinner. Life was just altogether different.

I met Justin when he was a customer service manager. I asked him for help in the vision center to do a refund, or something requiring an override, and I think he stared at me for a solid 20 seconds at least. And then he began to blink rapidly and I felt a slight achievement at the fact I knew he was attracted to me, and I walked away feeling smug, not knowing how much I loved him then. A short time later my mom came into the store one night when I was closing the vision center, and I met her while she was grocery shopping. Justin walked past us, sort of staring at the ground, also sort of staring at me. I told him good night and he smiled and turned away. My mom asked me, who is that? And I said, that’s Justin. I had an inward sensation that felt somehow like opening up a brand new book,

page one.