It’s been a loooong time since my last birthday party. For the past few years, I’ve spent my birthday just having a quiet dinner with a small circle of friends, talking about anything and everything and nothing. Last year was a deliberately muted birthday celebration, inasmuch as the bar results were about to come out in a few days. Spent my birthday eve fretting in a slouchy couch at a homey bar in Quezon City with a boy who took my hand and promised that it was going to be okay.
This year, I wanted a party. Those closest to me will know that it has been a tough and challenging year. Deep family issues, a massive financial crisis, health concerns, ghosts from unresolved childhood tragedies coming back to haunt me — to paraphrase Ely Buendia circa Eraserheads, I got by, with a smay-eel. I wanted to gather the people who saw me through the bad stuff and tell them I love them through beer and sisig and a videoke machine.
And they came. They all came. The friend living in Makati whose work at Ayala ended at 9pm and and who has a class for her Masteral degree at 8am the next day. The friend who had to catch a Cecil Licad concert in CCP that Friday night and whose car broke down in Roxas Blvd. The friend who drove to Tagaytay and back that day for a work-related trip. The friend who had a gig scheduled that same night at Conspiracy.
It was just so great to stand in the middle of the room and see the faces of 60-or-so people so familiar and dear to me. From my friends in debsoc (TJ was inappropriately-early, Mori was inappropriately-late — nothing much has changed since college, haha), to my law school friends (mga abugadong malakas tumawa at mas malakas kumain), to people from PEACE helping Bondoc Pen, to my super great AKBAYAN family, to other people who dont fall within these neat categories but all fit nicely in my heart (editor’s note: icky, please change phrase), salamat talaga ng marami.
Special thank you to Geh for wangling a good deal at Barko for me and for coordinating the party. And also to Mayong’s office and HQ for chipping in. Salamat, Arlene and Kit, for this happy surprise. Tinanggap ko talaga ito ng walang dramang pagpapakipot at pag-aalinlangan. Hehe. I dont want to start saying thank you for the individual gifts because if I acknowledge one, Ive to acknowledge all and Im afraid Id miss someone.
My birthday is not officially over, but I must say that this has truly been one of my more memorable birthdays. Spent my birthday eve with the most fantastic set of friends ever, a noisy and fun party that wound down around 2am. Today at noon, I had salmon sashimi with the boy who held my hand last year and promised me it was going to be okay. (Two of my favorite things in one go: my favorite food and my favorite person) Heard mass with Mama at 6pm, who told me that March 17, 1980 was one of the happiest days of her life. Had dinner at home with my two lolas who made me pancit with lots of chicken liver and no shrimp, just the way I like it. Looking forward to my sister’s birthday gift to me: a three-hour pampering session at the spa tomorrow.
There is one thing that happened today that makes me sad and made my eyes well up a little, as I was eating salmon sashimi with the boy. A scheduled implementation of a long-overdue but extremely difficult decision. But I will not think about it first. Tonight, when I close my eyes and pray, I will only say “thank you.”
Happy birthday to me.