It was his birthday yesterday. And it would have totally slipped my mind had it not been for the very helpful reminder on Facebook. A small gasp escaped past me when I chanced upon the reminder. I verified the date on my phone for reaffirmation. How could I have forgotten it?
I remember making a card for the occasion as an adolescent. I remember handing it over to him, with clammy hands. I remember fluttering my eyelashes in the impatience of a response. Today, I don’t clearly remember how exactly he responded; I think it was fairly lukewarm. My world didn’t change overnight, but if he had read the words right, he, at the very least, knew how I felt.
A decade later, I remember calling him in the wee hours of a snowy morning to be the first to wish him. I remember that conversation very well. He was almost waiting for my call. He knew it was a big deal for me. Over the years, he had learnt to read me well. Or at least pretended to. I felt indulged in that one phone call.
In the interim, there had been stray emails, texts and e-cards. Even an occasional wall post on Facebook, for the world out there to gawk at. But this year, the day almost slipped past me. Perhaps symptomatic of what our friendship had transitioned into, in the last few years. We had slipped into that comfortable zone. Talking once in a few weeks, but baring our souls each time we spoke. The highs, the frustrations, the disappointments. There was little reading between the lines, little subtext to be gleaned. But we were comfortable. Past the lies and the pretensions. Past the perfunctory.
Perhaps, then a birthday forgotten is only a minor hiccup, I suppose. Because I’m yet to wish him.