THE BORN DAY I TURNED 45
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
This isn’t a birthday blog nor is it some bellow for attention. They’re just thoughts running wild which happen to fall within the week of my born day (that’s what some members and CODAs in the Deaf community call it).
Tuesday, June 28th: I wait until the very last minute to register my car at town hall. And while I’m there, register my furkids in case they run off when those damn fireworks are going off. Word to the wise: fireworks freak animals out because it messes with their nervous system. I wish they were outlawed for random citizen use, but they’re not because we live in the “Live Free or Die” state. ‘Murica.
Wednesday, June 29th: I go to get my oil changed and car inspected at Valvoline. I drive a 2019 Toyota Corolla so I figure there won’t be any major issues. While I wait, I sit outside at a picnic table with my latest read: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Yeah, I know it’s a classic on the banned book list and I’m about sixty years late reading this gem. I’m often late, what can I say?
As I’m reading, my phone rings from a New York number I don’t recognize. Telemarketers or some shit. I hit ignore. Same number a few minutes later. I hit ignore again. A half hour later, as Mr. Valvoline is telling me my car doesn’t pass inspection due to worn brake pads, my phone buzzes with text messages from a number I don’t recognize. Again, I ignore it because now I’m in the throes of a fit over the fact I have to get them fixed and I only have until tomorrow, the 30th, my born day. I take the failed inspection paperwork, pay the man, and leave.
I look at the text messages and lo and behold it’s from one of my brothers at Bethel (Jehovah’s Witness dormitory living I mentioned in Train Gone and its sequel, Mirrors Strike Back). I have no idea how to respond, so I don’t. Instead, I do what I do best which is process it slowly, bite by bitter bite.
I drive to Lakes Region Community College and ask the librarian if they still have old copies of the college’s literary journals (my writing was published in it in 2000). They don’t, and I’m super sad about that because I want to see my earlier writing; I’m sure my old floppy discs are in a garbage heap somewhere, disintegrated. Then, I drive to Weirs Beach—home to a lot of happier memories. I wander up and down the boulevard for an hour, contemplating getting shitfaced. No, don’t do that. I hop in my car and head home.
Sitting on the couch, I stare at text messages from five hours prior. The last one reads: “Is this still Becky?” I don’t know? I think to myself. Is it? Just as I’m ready to reply, another text comes through. This one, scathing; it’s foaming at the mouth. “If you’re not going to respond, no problem. Just stop texting mom and dad. Go ahead and block my number, I’ll do the same.” And I hadn’t even responded yet. Stop texting mom and dad? Um, sometimes it’s they who text me.
I respond, but not with the same crass tone. I’m even keel and totally respectful for the entire exchange; I figure it’ll be better that way because at the end of the day, the person I need to respect and love most is me, and I know I’d hate the mirror’s reflection if a wounded child stared back at me instead of an adult. My wounded child, that sweet four-year-old girl by the train tracks, needs an adult to look after her, not another clueless kid.
The texts come to a halt, and he even seemed to soften a bit at the end, but not once did he apologize for some of the things he texted. Know what? It doesn’t matter. Just, whatever. I want to go to bed.
Thursday, June 30, my born day: I wake with a gnawing ache in my stomach. I desperately want to find some other realm and live there; find Valentine Michael Smith and learn the wonders of Mars, float through mysterious galaxies, witness a supernova.
I get a few born day texts, first one from my husband, second from my Jodi. I make some coffee and sit at my laptop for my morning pages (my goal is 1,000 words a day; I don’t force them if they don’t come and I don’t get down on myself—it’s just a goal. Sometimes I exceed it, sometimes I don’t). While staring at the last thing I wrote, I realize Mac and Sadie’s story will have to wait because I can’t get my head to move past yesterday; the day of vicious texts.
So, I spend all day wanting to be in another world, writing the story of one couple’s abduction. But I can’t. I apologize to them and pace the room. Then I call one of my brothers; the only one I really feel close to, the one I’m not blood-related to. We talk for two hours about the Mallorys. They’ve (the brothers at Bethel) hurt us both plenty over the years. After exchanging I love yous, we hang up.
I pace the room some more. I exchange a few texts with my friend, Ang. A couple of friends call: Kara, then Melissa. I chat with each for a bit, then do some more pacing. Those texts. Ooh! Those texts. Who does he think he is? Mom and dad are adults, in their seventies and eighties. Pretty sure that gives them license to make their own choices, but whatever. I spend most of the day texting my editor and friend, Kayli. Then, two birthday packages arrive. One from Melissa in Arizona (a gorgeous beaded bracelet that she made--Uplighten, check it out) and another from my INFJ writing bud Trish in Pennsylvania (antique calendars: two featuring old medical devices and anomalies and the other a serial killer calendar).
My husband comes home with a gift. “Look what I got you!”
I look at him and frown. After the emotional day I had yesterday, what the hell is that?
“Sexy brake pads! I’m gonna fix your brakes.”
I can’t help but smile just a little. He is a tinkerer and King of Practical Gifts. Four hundred dollars and two days later, my brake pads and two calipers have been replaced. Any way to replace the ache in my heart? Can he fix that? After twenty-five years away from family and their doomsday beliefs, shouldn’t it be easier by now? I guess what I said at the end of Mirrors rings true: “Being stonewalled sucks. Losing family sucks. And unfortunately, sometimes shit just keeps circling back. But things can get better if we acknowledge our shit, allow the experience, let it pass, and create something new."
Well, here's to creating something new. Again.