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My Stupid Birthday

June 21, 2016

For the past four years, I’ve held court at Pamplona on my birthday. Every year had a theme. I don’t remember the first one. The second one I required magic 8 balls as the only acceptable gift. I got three. Hence, the blog name.

Last year I made a ridiculous gift list that began with #2 pencils and ended with a trip to Jerusalem. That was a fun night. There was a group of Indian and Iranian friends and the entire bar was full of guests, just for me.

And Pumpkin Patch was there. We made out at the Blue Moon and I spent a wonderful night with him, then broke up with him a couple of weeks later. He broke my heart.

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Mr. Houston and I were riding a high of so-called friendship after the road trip to Sante Fe. We talked and laughed every day. And he continued to sent me mixed signals, though he would claim innocence. He told me he didn’t feel like dating. “And it’s because of you.” He called me at 2am one night after a night of drinking with friends. “I didn’t think you would answer,” he said. “Then why did you call?” I asked. “I wanted to hear your voice.” We fell asleep with our headphones on, the way we did when we first met.

He told me sometimes when he went on a date. The report was usually bland. He never seemed to like any of them. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to date him. That I could be just his friend……travel buddies even. And then he went on a date with someone he really liked. He told me all about it, like I was the frumpy best friend in a rom com. He had a connection with her. This one was different. Then he expressed fears about seeing her again. He was coming up with ridiculous excuses not to see this person he claimed to like.

And then I lost it with him. I fussed at him for being stupid and afraid. I said to him what I wanted to say to so many other men. “What’s the problem? What is wrong with you? You’ve convinced yourself it can’t work without even given it a chance.” He took it from me, laughed and admitted, “I’m afraid.” It was the same reason he wasn’t giving me a chance. I finally ended our facetime chat and allowed the sadness to envelope me…..again. I was heartbroken. It wasn’t going to work. I wasn’t going to be able to see him again. I told him so……again. No trip to Cuba or India, as we had fantasized.

He handled it predictably at first. Sending me emoji’s all day long. I was frustrated with his playfulness. He didn’t understand.

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My birthday was coming up and I debated doing the Pamplona thing again. It was getting old and feeling a bit pathetic. I wasn’t in the mood to be silly and ask for attention. Liz, predictably agreed. But Amy was insistent. “You have to do it. It’s always so much fun.” After a bit more arm twisting, I agreed.

I made the requisite facebook event, with the appropriate level of self-deprecating humor. I promised a theme. When the pledged attendees reached a dozen I thought, Oh Shit. Now I have to find something to wear.

Amy, Liz and I came up with a ridiculous theme idea. The gift requirement would be a single man as a guest. The punishment would be a refrigerator magnet from a place visited or a bottle of Bouza Tannat. Name tags would be provided at the door for the single men.

Mr. Houston chose the “going,” option on the event page. I knew he had a planned seminar that weekend. “You’re not really coming,” I said to him that night.

“I am,” he claimed. “I can skip the seminar.” I let it go until we ended the conversation. Then I messaged him, “If you come to my birthday you will be sending me mixed signals. I have feelings for you. If you want us to be more than friends, then show up. If you want us to be only friends, please don’t come. You will be hurting me. Please don’t do that.”

What followed was a weird argument between us. He insisted that I was being foolish. That I was boxing myself in. That I wasn’t allowing him to be himself. He was very upset, while of course claiming he wasn’t angry at all.

I told him the story of Pumpkin Patch the year before. I wasn’t going to do that again. I don’t know how I could have been more clear, or why he couldn’t understand. I couldn’t see him because I was crazy about him.

The next day, he didn’t speak to me until the evening. “This is hard,” he wrote.

“I know.” I said.

Last night, I checked in with him. I shouldn’t have but it was difficult going from talking every day to nothing. “May I ask how you are doing today?” I wrote. I could see that he had read the message. He didn’t reply.

“I guess not.” I said. “I hope you are well. Have a good night.”

Then, he shot me a barrage of messages. Blaming me for forcing him out. Claiming I wasn’t accepting him. That I was being selfish. That I wasn’t valuing him. That all I could think about was a relationship because I had been single for four years. That I was throwing away his friendship. He said I didn’t get it. I said he didn’t get it. When he accused me of not caring about him, I called him. It was insulting. I was in love with him or so I thought. The bizarre conversation was beginning to make me wonder about his true character. He couldn’t move forward with a friendship, he said.

Finally, I stopped his ranting and tearing up said, “I can’t talk about this anymore. I’m very upset. I got the message. I won’t bother you again.” I hung up.

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And so, another one bites the dust. In true Marie fashion with a drawn out break up that takes 5 or 6 attempts before it sticks. I feel the crack in my heart and wait for it to set itself again. Until the next weird guy finds his way into my life, arrows in hand.

For now, I’m looking forward to another Saturday of vanity and silliness with a dash of graceful desperation as I celebrate the 7th anniversary of my 40th birthday at my favorite place with my favorite people.

Who knows, maybe someone will bring my soulmate. Worst case scenario, I’ll get a bottle or two of my favorite wine and some magnets for my fridge.

 

Oh…..and btw, Z is back in town.

 

 

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