subject line: Happy Birthday, C.


Tubsy, Washington

Today is his birthday. He turns twenty-seven. We’ve know each other for almost half our lives now. Torn one another apart. Put one another back together.

I helped him pick the ring. I wrote an email about helping him plan the proposal, but I didn’t tell you I helped him pick the ring out too. It’s his birthday, he’s engaged, and I’m still alone.

I wished him happy birthday this morning and he wrote me back,
You have such a special place in our hearts,
he said. Like I’m dead or something. That makes me sound like I’m dead and I don’t know why other than I feel dead. I don’t even know how to write all this down. He’s gonna marry her, and it’s my fault. I had half my life to tell him how I really felt, and I never found the guts to do it. I wore his flannels and sweaters, read his books, made him tea, laughed with him, cried with him, everything. We’ve done it all together. We’ve sat in trees in the forest of his backyard, canoed down the river, eaten pasta on his rooftop. We’ve driven to his grandpa’s homestead, watched The Office while sitting in the same rocking chair, chased the moon. He put black-eyed susans in my hair. I trimmed his beard. We built a swing together. Fished. Climbed. Learned. Sang.
But he never picked me. I never asked him too.

What kind of hell have I made for myself?