‘It’s my birthday’. That’s what the sign said, half propped against a much too empty box. It’s my birthday. Words that crept into my heart and left a chill that I couldn’t shake, no matter how I fought to beat it back.
I continued to walk down the street, my head lowered as I attempted to ignore the world around me. If I could bubble myself, cut myself out of everything else happening, perhaps then the feeling that weighed so heavily upon me would leave? Doubtful.
I wasn’t too sure if the words written with a far too worn black texter were even true. The more I thought about it, the less certain I became. Perhaps it reminded me too much of a sales ploy? A clever tug at the strings of emotions, trying to lure a potential customer. But what if it wasn’t? That mere thought left a dryness in my mouth.
‘It’s my birthday’. The words replayed over and over in my mind, refusing to remain idle. What would they receive for it? The typical glances to the side, feigning interest in something across the street, the sad half smile that came through forced lips, the ever-so-slight turn in their path so a greater distance was put between them. Gifts of solitude.
I wasn’t even sure if I had the right to be thinking these thoughts. I’d never experienced it myself. Indeed, I had it easier than many, and for that, was I grateful? Not as nearly as I should be. No point in lying about that. I didn’t want that to come across as arrogance, nor self-assured pride. If anything it was more just an oblivious nature. A shielded perspective. Something I worked to correct, sure, but something that was there nonetheless.
Even now as I sit here, writing these words, I can’t help but think about what I’m actually doing. Maybe it’s all wrong. Maybe I’ll be accused of flaunting my privilege. Maybe I’ll just be ignored, like I’ve down to so many. Who would I be to judge? I’ve certainly done my fair share of it. Hell, the way I’m even writing this is probably frowned upon. Sitting here with a coffee by my side, the chatter of conversation, a jazz track that has looped for the fifth time since I’ve been here, and a pen scribbling aimlessly, admittedly often going back on itself and crossing out its fair share of words too.
Words that don’t fit, words that seem too harsh, or too pitying. I want this to sound right, but is there even a right way to do this? I’m probably overthinking at this point. Already I’ve written too much to fit in this small space.
I suppose, the only words I have that I truly need to write are these. I hope this means something, or at least helps in some way. I know I’ve always wanted to help in some way, but each time I made some poor man’s excuse. ‘I need to save for rent’, ‘I don’t have time to stop’, ‘it’ll probably go to waste anyway’. But for now, I hope you do use this right, and if not, then who am I to change you right now?
I might not be able to change everything, but maybe, just maybe, I can help somehow, even if this is just some card from a corner store with a small fifty stashed inside for that food and accommodation you asked for. Who knows, maybe it’ll help me just as much.
Anyway, happy birthday.