It always rains on my birthday.
Not really. My birthday is in November. Sometimes it does nothing. Sometimes it snows.
It did rain on my 6th birthday. I was in Kindergarten. I walked to and from school every day. Once I got in very big trouble when, instead of walking all the way to school, I stopped at a friend’s house to play. I was in morning classes, she was in afternoon classes so when she said school didn’t start until later, I believed her. Her mom believed us both and said she’d drive me. It wasn’t until I was dropped off for my non-existent afternoon classes I learned my mistake.
My friend gave me a giant geode because we had a fun morning. My mom made me give it back because it was a fun morning I wasn’t supposed to have.
She didn’t yell at me, my mom. She told me I’d played hooky. She explained school was much too important to play hooky. I never played hooky again.
On my 6th birthday, Miss Laverne gave me a certificate that said, “Congratulations on turning 6!”
She also let me make a purple construction paper crown to wear. I wrote my name all over it and covered it in crayon 6’s. Miss Laverne had to work the stapler for me because I wasn’t strong enough yet to squeeze it.
When it was time to walk home, it was raining. On raining days my mom would drive me or pick me up or both. But I didn’t see her car waiting for me in the line of cars so I walked home.
I cried the whole way. I wore my birthday crown and carried my certificate and everything was wet from rain and I did not think turning 6 was very fun at all.
When I got home, no one was there. There was a birthday cake on the kitchen table with 6 candles in it but all the lights were off and no one was there.
So, I walked back to school in the rain, still wearing my paper crown and carrying my certificate.
At some point, my mom found me. She apologized for not seeing me when I came out of the school. It was raining too hard. When she realized what I must have done she drove home. When I wasn’t there, she traced my route, driving up and down every side street until she found me.
When we got home I took off my wet things and took a nap in my parents’ bed. I remember my sister, Kathy, was there when I woke up and the candles were lit for my cake. I remember because it was the first time I was ever mad at my mom. I remember because at that moment, my sister was the only person in the world I liked.
Then I tasted my mom’s homemade peanut butter frosting for the first time and I felt bad for not liking my mom for a minute and I cried all over again.
My brother George came home while I cried into my cake and asked me if I was crazy.
I told him my whole ordeal and showed him my messed up crown and my ruined certificate and I cried all over him. He told me to eat more cake. He told me mom would have plenty of opportunities to make me not like her. He said if he wasn’t allowed to stay mad at her, I wasn’t either. He said it was okay to be mad at her sometimes though. I just should try very hard not to stay mad at her because she really was pretty good as far as moms went and besides, “You aren’t going to be half the fuck up I am,” he said.
I laughed. Mom smacked George on the head and told him not to say the f word. Kathy said, “Ya, don’t be a fuck up like George and say fuck in front of mom and dad,”
But Kathy was smart and waited until mom wasn’t in the room when she said it. She was also eating leftover peanut butter frosting off a spatula. The sun was setting behind her outside the kitchen window and the light on her hair looked like a halo. Kathy, the Patron Saint of Peanut Butter Fucking Frosting.
I don’t like my birthdays anymore. I haven’t had a happy birthday for a very long time but this will be a very special unhappy birthday. George died when he was 54. On this birthday, I will turn 54.
So far, however, the forecast says it will not rain.
It will be a Friday the 13th though. Because fuck.
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