I turned 25 over the weekend,
And like most people,
I checked who posted, “Happy birthday” on my Facebook Wall throughout the day.
I don’t know why I did that,
Because I know it doesn’t necessarily mean anything,
But it still felt nice to see a good friend post something like,
“Happy birthday! What are your plans for tonight?”
I would’ve replied,
But then I would’ve felt obliged to reply to everyone,
And because I didn’t feel like doing that at the time,
I figured I’d do what I always try to do on my birthday and write.
The plan was to go to Georgetown Law’s Barrister’s Ball,
And if you don’t know,
It’s basically Law School Prom,
Just at a much nicer venue:
The National Building Museum.
Like high school, though,
It starts at 9PM (and you’re not allowed to enter after 10 30PM),
So when a friend invited me to a pregame starting around 8PM,
I didn’t know if I would make it.
I was having dinner with my mother and my brother at 5 30PM,
And although that should have been more than enough time,
They told me that we were going to Fiola Mare,
Which sounded like a place where you sit,
Have a drink,
And admire the view before even ordering your appetizer.
I was right.
Dinner ended around 8PM,
So I didn’t know if I’d go to the pregame for two reasons.
I wasn’t sure there was even any point of going because of the time,
When my friend went down the list of who was there,
There were some people who unfriended me on Facebook.
I know that doesn’t necessarily mean anything,
And I’ve done it to a few people myself,
So I guess I can’t really say anything.
It was my birthday,
And I didn’t want to have to make small talk with people who unfriended me,
Especially after having dinner with two people who love me unconditionally.
I had already done the typical “turning quarter century” thing and bought a bottle of Belevedere,
And I didn’t want to show up at Barrister’s Ball alone.
So I figured that at the very least,
I would be able to avoid any awkward conversations by offering a round of shots.
The pregame turned out to be fine,
Partly because there wasn’t even enough time to talk to everyone,
But mostly because when I got there,
I ran into a few friends who were up for a shot or two before taking an Uber to the venue.
When we arrived,
The National Building Museum looked nice,
But for some reason,
I didn’t take any pictures.
I remember checking my coat,
Getting a drink,
Walking around and talking to a few friendly faces before playing Blackjack.
Don’t get me wrong.
It wasn’t “real” Blackjack.
It’s just that the theme was “Casino Royale,”
So there were a few casino games where you could play with fake money and get a prize.
I’ve been to Atlantic City a few times,
Where my luck has generally been pretty good,
And because it was my birthday,
I thought that my luck would be even better.
I think I was up by a lot at one point,
But at the end of the day,
It wasn’t even real money,
And when I checked my watch,
My birthday was almost over.
I didn’t want to spend the last moments of my birthday alone at a fake Blackjack table,
So I got up and looked for my group of friends.
I couldn’t find them.
There were hundreds of people around,
And I guess they were lost in the crowd.
So I did what a lot of single guys would do at that point:
I started looking for a nice girl to talk to.
There were girls in long dresses,
Girls in short dresses,
Girls who looked like they wished they had a date,
Girls who looked like their iPhones were their dates,
Girls who were dancing in someone’s arms,
Girls who were stumbling into someone’s arms,
Girls who looked so nice they made me look twice,
My eyes stopped when I saw this girl sitting next to a guy on a bench by the fountain.
I didn’t realize it until that moment,
But there was a giant fountain in the middle of the National Building Museum,
And it was surrounded by benches you usually see in a park or by a lake.
I don’t know whether I’ve been reflecting more because it’s almost graduation,
Or whether it was just the Belvedere,
But I thought of this day a long time ago when I sat by a fountain with this girl at school.
I’ve tried my best to forget most things about that day ever since,
But when I saw those two strangers by the fountain at the National Building Museum,
Everything came flooding back.
I remembered how the fountain at school might have been broken,
But how that didn’t mean anything because of what she said to me.
I remembered telling her how sometimes,
Especially in my writing at the time,
I acted as if I always knew what to say to women and how to say it,
But that in reality,
I fell asleep most nights hoping that one day,
I’d find someone who understood me,
Someone who was just as insecure as me,
And someone who shared my crazy dreams,
And I remembered her looking at me and saying,
“Don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ll find someone. I promise.”
I know that doesn’t even sound like much of a compliment,
But I remembered the way she looked,
And more importantly,
The way she made me feel when she said it,
And after seeing those two strangers on that bench by the fountain at Barrister’s Ball,
I would’ve traded all those birthday posts on my Facebook Wall to hear her say that again.
So I tried to find her.
I really did,
Because I think I might have walked around that whole museum twice.
I realized that even if she had been there at one point,
She was long gone,
And when I checked my watch again,
My birthday was officially over.
It was getting late,
And I didn’t want to be “that guy” milling around the edge of the dance floor,
So I walked outside,
Called an Uber,
And went home alone.
When I woke up the next day,
I can’t say I felt too great,
Especially when I saw a picture of her at Barrister's Ball with another guy.
I started feeling better after remembering two things.
Contrary to the movies,
Most single people either go home alone or with a slice of pizza.
I remembered this conversation I had with a good friend at Barrister’s Ball.
We were talking about birthdays when he said that very soon,
He’ll be thirty years old and how that’s kind of depressing.
I didn’t know what to say,
Because I love The Great Gatsby and there’s a famous quote from Nick Carraway:
“Thirty – the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair,”
So I think I said something like,
“Don’t worry. Thirty is the new twenty.”
I was glad he laughed, but I was surprised when he followed it up with,
“But at the end of the day, I’m not too worried.”
“Yeah. No matter what, I always think my best days are ahead of me instead of behind me. Don’t you?”
I remembered agreeing with him,
And even though my birthday was over,
I think that’s why I felt better,
And eventually fell asleep knowing that because of that girl by the fountain,
I'll find someone.
To answer my friend’s original question,
That’s what I did for my birthday,
And thank you for posting on my Facebook Wall.
Until next time...
Absolutely no copyright infringement is intended. Although I have a Creative Commons copyright for all my work, all images, audio, text, and video that I post that are not mine are the sole propriety of their respective owners. Furthermore, these posts express my personal thoughts, and should not be attributed to either my employer or my school.