For the past couple of years now, a handful actually, I’ve followed pretty much the same routine on my birthday, year after year.
Put on that much-awaited gorgeous dress, get my pouty lips all dark and red, the right amount of dark shine around my eyes – enough to make them look mystical, but not too much that they appear slutty and desperate. Blush – the most essential part of me… I think a women, with not a single stitch on her, would have her look completed with one, magical, yet sensuous enough blush.
Just as each year before this me, a friend would come over, dressing up, choosing the right hair, ensuring every strand remains perfect, taking gradual sips of some delicious Old Monk and Rum, another routine.
We would talk about my new resolutions, for I never made any on December 31 of any year, those to me made no sense, it was the World that was growing older, not me. My New Year begins on the eve of 20th September. 21st, the Big New.
Older and wiser. That was the joke this year, the frolicking days of being 25 were coming to an end – ‘Young Adult’ was making it’s way towards me. You know me well enough to know that age is just a number to me; or “a state of mind” as a close friend put it. Age – it means nothing to me. These New Years, they became hazy blurs of fabulous nights, laughter, pictures, secrets; a bunch of memories to make me smile, year after year.
It had to be different. This past year, 2015, the big 25 – it had me running, screaming, crying, bursts of laughter, bouts of loneliness, missing hugs of friends, fights with the family, people leaving – some that mattered, most that didn’t. 25 was a number, and a year I had decided I would let it pass me by. But as always, the Universe has a very different plan.
This happened on the eve of my birthday. The last day, of my New Year – sort of symbolic, if you go to see. But that’s another story, another memory that will hopefully soon leave me behind.
For now, I’m going to break a promise that I made to myself this New Year, but only for the sake of this story.
It’s 20th September 2015.
I woke up, after a long, incredibly fun night with a small group of friends, all of whom know how to make me smile in their own special ways. At the beginning of it all, it seemed like it was going to be another one of those nights, all over again – the same dancing, flashes of light as we pose, the fun games, laughter, hugs and kisses, more memories created. But 26 had to be different. 26 had to change the entire game.
And change it did.
They say the Universe has strange ways of delivering messages to you. This was probably the third worst message that I subconsciously never wanted to receive. The Universe never wishes to hurt you, so when you need to get a message, to soften the blow, you end up finding out in mysterious ways.
My message came to me on my best friends phone, her Facebook wall, shining at me – I squinted my eyes, unsure of what I was reading. Her face, unsure if she should show it to me.
They looked happy, they both were smiling the right amount. The rings on their fingers shining brighter. On the other side of that phone, that picture, darkness seemed to be swallowing me up. I tried to react, but I felt the eyes of a thousand people, the memories of a lifetime, staring at me.
“Are you okay?” She whispered softly. Her phone now far away.
I tried to nod, but I just stared into her eyes, hoping that she would understand.
She had all the right answers – to all my unanswered questions.
She didn’t hug me, for she knew I would melt into a million tears in her embrace.
She sat next to me, put on a film with Patrick Dempsey; what better way to watch a past, start this new future, and it’s not you sitting there smiling ‘just enough’ in a picture on a screen, on someones phone, far away in another city, on the eve of someones birthday?
Don’t answer that.
The Universe – it has a funny way to play it’s games sometimes. I believe nothing was ever there to destroy us, we eventually end up doing those things to ourselves.
I’ve been awake for a few hours now, wondering how to cope with this – I’ve woken up from one of my top 5 scariest nightmares, only to wake up and realise that it’s still happening.
“It’s a start to a new story, your story…” One friend comforted me.
“You’re amazing… He was not the end of your fairytale. He was not your Prince Charming.” Another explained.
“He’s an ass.” She seemed about right.
“Poor girl. She has to live in your shadow.” Another said, smoke circling around her dark eyes.
“Have you ever thought that this timing couldn’t have been more perfect?” As I shot death looks at her, she begged me to wait another second as she explained herself quickly, “You thought that in this story, he was your ending, he was the Happily Ever After that you were searching for. All that pain he caused, all that hurt, you were ready to forget it all, and disrespect yourself in the name of Love, only because you were ready to settle for Him. But now, you have a whole story left in front of you to write, to learn from all the mistakes that you have made, from the one you were about to make. Don’t you understand? He’s not the end, he’s not whose standing there behind that closed door – so damn it, go! GO! Take this year, this is YOUR year – Take it and go find out what’s behind that damn door.” This time, I hugged her.
20th September 2015 – just a few hours left for the Big Change.
I stepped into the shower, the saddest songs on my phone playlist, no lights on in my bathroom. The temperature of the water was perfect. I stepped in. With the water pouring on me, soaking me completely. I cried. I howled. I screamed. The songs, the sound of water, drowning my screams and washing away my tears. I cried till I felt like there was nothing left inside of me.
Nothing, no memory, nothing.
A piece of my heart will always belong to him, but I know that one day, I’m going to meet someone whose not only going to respect this, but love me so much, that this little piece that has his name on it, my first love, will just become a story that I will one day share with my daughter, as she comes crying to me about her First Love. Because my First Love, is going to be a wonderful memory – but my Love Story, my Happy Ending, my Prince Charming and all of that, he’s going to be sitting there right beside me, making fun of our daughter and I, as we whine about boys, eat popcorn and watch rom-coms to drown our sorrows. Now that, is what I think a Happy Ending should look like.
“You just have to look into someone’s eyes to know that your forever ever after has just begun.”
21st September, 2015 – It’s my New Year. And I’ve never been more ready.