Every year it is the same thing. She doesn’t want a big fuss but if she doesn’t get the traditional “happy birthday” and a gift there will be hell to pay.
The last couple of years we made a point to schedule our vacation time for her birthday week. Most of if not the entire week is spent on beach chairs, sipping from alcoholic beverages and soaking up every bit of sunshine humanly possible.
This year was no exception to the few before.
Except that I planned to buy her a birthday cake. I wanted to surprise her somehow in the room before her special adults only dinner. Her favorites, crab legs and more beer than one stomach should possibly hold.
Only this year it didn’t quite go as planned.
It so happened my only chance to get her cake was while she was with me. She had a minor tantrum right there in the bakery section of the grocery. I asked her to pick out a cake, she argues she doesn’t want one. I insist that the children want to celebrate her day and cake is how it’s done. She shrugs in defeat and walks to the cake section again like a toddler forced to participate in group play.
She chooses a cheesecake.
I roll my eyes.
Not in such a way she shouldn’t have what she wants; I absolutely think one should be treated to any sweet desired on her birthday. However, I had planned on cheesecake for the private after dinner treat at her favorite restaurant.
She was ruining things and I was losing my temper.
Finally she picks a cake, after some threats and whispered expressions of aggravation. All the while we are circling a public shopping center. Shooting dirty looks at each other and anyone who dares notice the tension.
We make it back to the room and she gets her cake. The kids are happy. Everyone is happy.
Then comes time for the date night birthday dinner.
She loves crab legs, she eats them only once a year. The first year we were together we were engaged over crab by the ocean. Each birthday since the first she has enjoyed the same for her birthday week. It’s her thing. I don’t partake in such but I respect that it’s her favorite.
This year like all the others I watch her eyes dance when the plate is delivered. She reaches for the utensils to pull the meat from the long, freakish looking shells. She then drudges each piece into the cup of melted butter … dripping everywhere as she does. She scolds me to look away but I can’t. I just can’t avoid the butter on her fingers and the shine on her chin. You would think this to be intensely disgusting but in her own charm she makes it look sincerely endearing.
She continues on and about halfway into her mound she comes across a particularly tough leg to crack. She gives it her all and in slow motion we watch as a piece flings from our table to the next … narrowly missing the occupants. The piece bounces off an unknowing strangers handbag and onto the floor.
We look on horrified.
My hand to my mouth and her with buttery fingers still holding the remainder of the leg with a hint of butter slick on her chin.
Nobody seems to notice what just happened. I wait to take a breath for fear we will be escorted out before she can have her damn cheesecake.
We are asked if we might need a box, I advise we do. She exclaims to the waiter that she needs no box, only a shower. Probably an even mix of beer and truth talking.
Before long the plates are cleared and to-go boxes readied. We continue drinking her ginormous 100 ounce personal tap and casually discuss her day. Sunshine, sand, birthday dinner … it’s been a great day.
She heads to the bathroom and the waiter sneaks a fancy fried cheesecake thing with ice cream and a chocolate strawberry swirled concoction laced over the top. This bowl is surely delivered straight from the birthday heavens.
She is overjoyed.
The waiter comes back to ask her how she likes it, tells her happy birthday once again and retreats. She smiles.
Happy birthday my love. May we spend many more with even better stories to tell. I adore you.