Maybe Next Year


You forgot my birthday. I had a feeling you might. I told myself you would. I reminded myself every time I picked up my phone and thumbed through.

There were a lot of happy birthdays (surprisingly many, for a girl who feels like she has five friends!). Do you know what else people said? About the guy — it will get easier. They’re right, of course. It will get easier. It was easier.

What did I do with all of my other favorite stories? The ones with happy endings.


I’ve already read this book, the one open on my lap. From cover to cover. I know how it ends. There is no surprise twist at the end. There is no sequel. I wrote it; I should know. Well, we wrote it. I don’t think you have a Part Two in you either. Or would it be a Part Three?

We went over the ending twice, careful to tie up every loose end. You hate re-reading, and still you were right there with me. No cliffhangers — we agreed. This is how it ends. I guess I’m reneging on our deal. I always did like editing.

If I know you, you put your copy in a box. It’s still sitting there, untouched. I like things in boxes, too.

Peppermint bark generally lives in a box. You can throw out the lid. Do you think we can get away with not brushing our teeth for the day?


You would have said yes sweetie, we can. Happy, happy birthday. But that was a long time ago, wasn’t it.

This year I didn’t discover what it feels like to be the birthday girl 365 days in a row. But! I did discover something called bacon dust, and we all need to try it. It goes on popcorn, with crispy bacon ends and liberal amounts of salt and some kind of fancy cheese. I’m still kicking myself for not paying closer attention.


I’m not much of a bar snack kind of girl — mostly because I’m not quite sure how ordering a water works, or if I should tip, or where I should put my empty glass. I don’t know whether I should sit on the stool with my thighs squashed together and my legs dangling, or if I should perch prettily like her. Or if I should just stand back here and try not to look like I’m about to undergo a root canal. Try harder.

You were so good in times like these. So at ease, with one hand slowly circling my back.

I woke up last night at 11:50pm, and thought you still have ten minutes. You didn’t remember.


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