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Birthdays and See You Later’s

August 28, 2013

Yesterday was my birthday. Not my actual birthday — that’s in 13 days — but it felt like my birthday.

We had our last group dinner yesterday, and my was it fun! We went to Guu Izakaya, a place in the Annex where they all cheer when you enter or leave. Even though it was a Tuesday evening (and it was raining outside too), the place was jumpin’.

During dinner, AZ reached over and gave me a beautifully wrapped gift accompanied with a card. A note on the envelope said that I would have to wait until my birthday to open the gift. I agreed and inadvertently made a “dirty” joke. These people just have dirty minds!

I read the card and smiled. I will not divulge the contents here, but the card really made me happy–happy to know that I have touched someone in such ways. Thanks AZ.

As we were getting ready to leave, one of the waitresses brought a box up to MDN. I recognized the box from an Asian bakery in Chinatown, but because I had merely glanced at it, the connection didn’t go off in my head. Immediately after, MDN came up to me with the box and told me, “I bought this for your birthday, but they were going to charge me $30 to cut it here, so screw that!” I laughed! I thanked her several times because what a pleasant surprise it was! The rest of the group crowded around us wondering what was going on. I held the box close to me and said, “She always buys me a Chinatown fruit cake every year for my birthday, but this year, she won’t be able to make it up to Montréal for it.” I was very happy that she had bought it, but at the same time, I was quite emotional. MDN must have recognized it because she told me not to cry. Ha ha. I wasn’t going to; I was just overwhelmed with positive emotions. I was happy and touched that she remembered, but I was also a tiny bit sad at the realization that she won’t be there in Montréal for my birthday. MDN was always the person who grounded me to home whenever I was in Montréal. Now she won’t be there, and things won’t be the same. But these things happen in life. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a sad thing.

Before we left the restaurant, we tried to make it really obvious that we were leaving, so we could get out loud “Bye!” But because the restaurant was so busy, no one really noticed. That was when TF-B called out, “BYE!” and the whole crowd turned towards us and reciprocated it. On a whim, we decided that we wanted to go to karaoke. There were a couple of joints down the street, so we made our way there. MDN had went to Dollarama to buy some plastic plates and utensils so that we could eat the cake. Not long after, we were given a room in the basement of a place that looked like a motel. Actually, the place looked exactly like that karaoke place seen in the Ryan Gosling Movie Only God Forgives. Our room was humungous with sofas lining up against two walls and strobe lighting dancing everywhere. The first song that we chose was Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop.” JM joked and told me to get under the strobe light and “Do my thang.” I told him that I didn’t even know what “twerkin'” meant until two weeks ago. Seriously.

Soon, the candles on the cake were lighted. MDN gave me a balloon with Disney princesses on it, no doubt because I am a child at heart who loves princesses and fairy tales. She then put a crown on me, and I told her to put one on JM as well because “It’s his birthday too you know!” In the midst of all the fun, everyone had forgotten that JM and I share the same birthday. He smiled, and people exclaimed, oh yeah! There were three crowns, so MDN gave it to the person whose birthday was next in line: AZ. The group began to sing Happy Birthday, and all I can remember were the brightness of the candle lights dancing to our voices and the smiles on everyone’s faces. I remember thinking, This is such a great birthday. I’m going to have such a great year this year. Maybe because it wasn’t actually my birthday, but I just realized that it didn’t occur to me last night that I was turning 21… am turning 21. All I could think of was that there was Chinatown fruit cake in front of me — the only kind of cake that I like and will eat, that I was surrounded by some of my greatest friends, and that I was happy.

I told JM to make a wish as I was making mine. I was being greedy and wished for three things. Then together, we blew out the candles. Jm smiled. I smiled. And the entire group smiled back at us. MDN and I cut the cake while the others were choosing a song to get the karaoke going. Someone chose Happy Birthday, and so again, we sang it.

The rest of the night was pure fun. We chose songs, belted out tunes, and I twirled under the strobe lighting. I only made one request for a song and that was “My Heart will Go On.” I pointed to my Heart of the Ocean necklace–a necklace that my dad made me when I was eight and had declared “My Heart will Go On” was my favourite song ever–as I chose that song. We continue to belt out the music.

Our session ended at 9 p.m. and that was when we decided to call it a night. We waited for a couple of minutes for someone to walk by so that we could ask him/her to take a picture of us. Soon, multiple pictures were taken, and we walked to the corner of the street to say our goodbyes. Hugs went around and so did Good luck’s and See you later’s.

You know, it is really as Samuel Johnson said that we never consciously do anything (that we are in the habit of doing) for the last time without some feeling of sadness. Goodbyes are sad when you don’t expect to see that person again for a while. See you later’s are never sad because you expect to see that person around soon (even if this is not actually the case).

Just like I wrote in my post “Goodbye’s the Saddest Word” a year-and-a-half ago, there are no “Goodbyes,” just “See you later’s.” Although I did not have a camera on me last night to document it all, I will always remember last night and will hold it dear to my heart.

I always thought being 21 would be great. Now I am more excited for it than ever!

I always thought being 21 would be great. Now I am more excited for it than ever!

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