Today is my 31st birthday. I woke in the middle of the night crying. Twice. Tears streaming onto my pillow as soon as I was conscious. I'd wipe them away and try to fall back to sleep, my mind blank. As soon as I awoke for the day, the tears came again. For years TJ had been the first person to wish me a happy birthday. He'd roll over in bed, prop himself up on an elbow, kiss my lips, and say it into my ear. Today I spent 45 minutes lying in bed trying to hear him say it. Trying to remember what it felt like to have his arms around me, his lips on my lips. But I couldn't find his voice in my head and I couldn't remember the feeling of being embraced. I couldn't remember what it all felt like.
I had the strangest dream last night, too. I'm sure that doesn't help. TJ was in it, the star. He was with me every second but I knew he wasn't alive in the dream. He explained to me that in order for him to move on to become something super natural he had to find another man to take care of me. I was so confused because he was there, and why did he have to find someone else? But I knew he couldn't stay. I followed him around like a puppy as he talked with different men in the places we went. I'd hook my arm in his while he chatted. I remained silent, hoping he couldn't find anyone suitable so that he could stay with me. Right before I woke up, he'd found someone for me. And so I cried.
I've done the math. This will be the first birthday without TJ in 16 years. 16 years of him wishing me a happy birthday. 12 years of him kissing me after saying it. 5 years of snuggling in bed and kissing me. I told my family last night that I just want today to be over with. I want to pretend like it's just another day. Maybe if I don't make a big deal out of it, it won't hurt as much. But it'll be impossible to forget that he's gone. And that I'll never hear him wish me happy birthday ever again.