He propped himself up to see the clock on the night table on my side of the bed. "Fourteen minutes till your birthday," he announced, his eyelids heavy with fatigue.
I giggled. I loved that he was indulging me like this; I simply adore my birthday. I've been broadcasting for weeks that my Quarter-Century Birthday was coming up, making a point to remind my boss, my co-workers, my family, my customers. Even when I got carded at Turkey Hill the other day for cigarettes and the attendant quizzed me on my age, I said, "Twenty-four. But I'll be twenty-five on Tuesday." Like he cared. I just get so excited. I can't help it.
"You can go to sleep if you want to," I said through a smile, kissing his forehead.
"No," his voice was tired. "I want to be the first to wish you happy birthday."
So when midnight rolled around, he wrapped me up in his arms and wished me a happy birthday.
"Do you want to open your present?" he nodded at the gift he'd placed next to the television hours earlier to taunt me. I did want to open it, had been wanting to since he'd set it gingerly on the bureau and told me I couldn't open it until the next day after work.
So I peeled back the wrapping paper to reveal a beautiful deep green purse, perfect in all regards. He asked me if I liked it. Repeatedly. I flung it over my shoulder, fingered the soft leather of the exquisite bag and smiled. "It's wonderful. Thank you so much. But you didn't have to get me anything. I thought our trip to Florida was my birthday present."
"I couldn't not give you something...it's your birthday."
I kissed him. "Why are you so good to me?"
We fell asleep, on my birthday, curled together. When I woke up to the screaming alarm, he pulled me to him. "Happy birthday, baby." I smiled all the way from the bed to the shower.
I came into work to yelps of Happy Birthday from my coworkers. I sat at my desk, my mood phenomenal despite my hacking cough and runny nose.
"How are you feeling? How's that cold of yours?" a customer asked upon hearing my cough.
"It's my birthday. A little sinus infection isn't going to get me down today."
And just before 11, Myer the Florist came in with an explosion of lilies for me. From Billy. When I called to thank him, I told his voice mail how beautiful the flowers are that he'd made my day. I told him, too, that he is truly wonderful. And I meant it.
So now, I'm sitting at my desk, thinking of how perfect this day is, and wondering how I got so damn lucky.