A Birthday Memory

10 years ago today, my birthday, I knew Andy cared about me.

10 years ago today I was turning 17. I was a junior in high school. Andy and I weren’t dating yet, although I had a massive crush on him and we were hanging out pretty often.

My two best friends, Stef and Laurel, were seniors at different high schools. We had made plans to do something for my birthday. I don’t remember what it was supposed to be, but it was going to be epic – if epic was a word we used back then.

It was a Friday. I came home from school, excited to start celebrating with my friends. Then they each separately called me and said something had come up. I think Laurel said she was sick and Stef had some kind of volleyball practice. Whatever. In my teenage view of the world, this was a disaster and I was upset.

My parents wanted to help me salvage the evening, so I ordered a pizza from Gino’s East, where Andy and I both had part time jobs. Normally I would be working a Friday night, but I had asked off because of my epic evening plans. I went in to the store and Andy was working the counter. I must have looked upset [I wasn’t and still am not good at hiding my feelings] so he asked what had happened. I told him.

Andy, 16 and awkward as all 16 year olds are, looked a little stressed and then kind of [awkwardly] said, “don’t worry. maybe things will get better.”

Poetry.

I went home and walked into my house. Stef and Laurel jumped out from behind a wall or something and said surprise! They said they had “tricked” me and that we were still going to have a girls night. Fun! We walked downstairs to the den and BOOM! The light flipped on and about 20 people shouted surprise. Half my church’s youth group was there to celebrate my birthday.

“Maybe things will get better.”

A little later on, when he got off work, Andy came to the party [if you can call a bunch of church kids eating chips and drinking pop a party]. I don’t remember talking to him at all the rest of the night but it gave me a warm glow that he hadn’t liked seeing me upset and wanted to make me feel better.

10 years later a lot, and not so much, has changed. We went to college, got married, got jobs, moved a million times. We’ve both changed and in many, many ways are not the same people anymore. But deep down, some things are still the same. I’m 27 now, but I’m still a girl who can be sensitive about cancelled plans and he’s still a guy who cares about my feelings, and doesn’t want me to be sad, ever. Lucky for me about six months after that party, I snagged that guy and he’s been making me happy on my birthday, and every day, since.

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