I waited for him to call in the morning. It was eleven o’clock and he has not called yet. I decided that it was too late to go out for lunch with him. I called the lady who was going to babysit the kids and told her that I had a change of plans. Then I told the kids to put on their shoes and take their jackets. I told them we were going to a cafe and then to get my birthday cake.
Close to the cafe there was a lego shop. I parked at the lego shop entrance and told the kids that they can get one lego set each. A gift to them on my birthday. The lego store was closed, the sign on the door read that it would open at noon. I promised the kids that we would come back when it opens.
We got pastries and coffee at the cafe. The kids jumped excited around me, they loved the cafe; they were also very happy awaiting to get the lego sets. Kids get so happy with gifts. I thought of when I was a kid and how I felt asleep excitedly on the night before my birthday all wrapped in the magic of what I will wake up to. I still loved gifts. I just rarely got any in the last years.
I looked at my phone. It was half past eleven. Then I took the book and started reading. The kids were running on the street in front of the cafe. I was sitting at the high bar table facing the window. A bouquet of fresh flowers in a transparent glass vase was standing next to my coffee cup. I thought that this cafe always has beautiful flower arrangements on its tables. It was pleasant to look at the orange flowers. Then he called and it was noisy at the cafe. Besides as we talked I started to feel sad and I thought that my voice sounded like an echo and I had to make an effort to talk. I would have liked to see him on my birthday, but I understood that I could not. There were too many family things happening for him on that day. And I wanted to end the conversation because I was afraid I would start crying.
I left my coffee unfinished and called the kids. We went to the lego store at noon and it was already open. And they each selected a toy and I was glad to see them that happy. Their smiles and the fresh air made the desired effect. Then we drove to get the cake. I let the kids chose the cake for me too. It was a chocolate decadence cake at the end.
After lunch kids placed handmade cake decorations on top of the cake. And as I lighted the candles the decorations caught fire and I had to blow it all before making a wish. And it was quite funny and we all laughed. The cake was dense and good. And there was a lot of it left.
I had a work call with my team and then decided that I will go to the gym at night for the open mat. I wanted to see people. Seeing him would have felt like a gift. Seeing people at the gym felt like a gift too. You get to love people after you have been wresting with them on the mats for over two years. And all I wanted was to spend time with the people I loved. Kids were happy to play a few hours at a friend’s house and I dropped them there on my way to the gym. I also thought of taking the rest of the cake to the gym, but then decided against it. May be he could come over the next day and then we could finish that cake together. I smiled at the thought of it and left the cake in the fridge.
He called as I was approaching the gym. And we talked for a while. The connection was breaking because he was driving on some mountain road, and I did not hear a good portion of it. He said he would not be back the next day and he hoped that I was having a good birthday. He asked me how I was doing and I said I was doing ok. And I wished I was. I thought to myself that I should have taken the cake to the gym. And I felt silent. And then he asked about work because the conversation was getting very quiet. And after a few minutes the connection broke. It was windy on the parking lot. I sat in my car for a few minutes staring at my phone, through the large glass window I saw people moving inside the gym. I took my bag and went in.
It felt peaceful inside. I smiled. First half crooked smile, and then widely. Happy birthdays and hugs. I missed that warm human touch of other shoulders. My sparring partner walked in. We put on our MMA gloves and started. The world was quiet and simple and warm. And you felt like a kid rolling in the snow. And in the second hour we rolled with all other guys in the gym too. And I did not notice how my right hand got bruised. And I also did not notice how all the sadness was gone. When you are fighting you are never sad. That’s the virtue of fighting.
We finished the last sparring round at eight. I took a quick shower at the gym, picked up the kids and drove to my best friend’s house for dinner. Her family had just returned from Hawaii and it was good to see them all. We drunk wine, ate food she cooked and I told them to come over the next day for coffee and birthday cake. And they said they would.
And then at home I did not know if I wanted to write about it all. I did not feel like writing it because I did not want to tell the truth. But I did not want to fake it either. I just wanted to write.
So I said to myself ,”If you are going to write it, at least, write how it really was.”