Today. It’s a date that’s circled on the calendar in my mind. One that I keep circled only because I forget to erase it.
Now I begin to think
I remember when I first asked you. The first time I circled it. The marker seemed eager, but my hands shook, with the weight of my expectations and the fear of it – what if I marked it but never got to celebrate with you.
The year after that, the marker was just as eager, and my hands proud. The red circle around was firm, and I had even drawn hearts around it, a symbol of the one I loved most. I’d planned something grand. I had all my gifts ready, and the cake baked. All I wanted now was to see the look on your face.
The year after that, I knew our love remained. But it was a mere shadow upon which we kept piling up all our hopes. The red circle was still around the date, but I felt the hearts around were fake. Just like my smile. And the loveless cake I baked.
The year after that was one of expensive gifts. I couldn’t love you, and neither did you. But fearful of confrontation, we kept our pretensions up. The circle remained, the hearts were gone. The shadow seemed longer and dying; by clutches somehow still surviving.
And I’m here now, and you’re elsewhere. I see you’re happy, and I couldn’t be more glad – from the bottom of my heart. But the circle on the date in my mind throbs like a migraine. Reminding me how this is the first year we are spending apart. Old habits die hard. Someday I’ll erase that circle, and it’ll be free to go where the hearts went. But not this year. And until then, the shadow that still exists like a dying flame will wish you on your birthday.