My friends are awesome. Here I was, eating pasta and watching something on my iPad when they show up at my doorstep just past midnight, cake and balloons in hand. Surprises always daze me and it appears as if they’re meant to be a recurring trend. This time, they hit me when I’m least expecting it and I’m always floored by the sudden onslaught of people and cheer. I would’ve thought without Fran to orchestrate everything and everyone together, it wouldn’t work nearly as well as I’d have hoped it to. It turns out I give her far too much credit. Yes, she did well when she was around, but her absence didn’t mean things fell off the cliff. The first milestone experience without her and I can’t help but realize that this time, no interaction is better than a half-assed one.

It was wonderful, there was discord and harmony among everyone, there was my classic candle dilemma which invariably tends to happen every birthday and everything was so…happy. There’s not much I would like changed, maybe more food but there was plenty already and I could barely ask of my poor mother to do more than what she already did. It was mildly interesting that distance was no barrier and the collective enthusiasm shone through despite it, that was all that was required. I like this meta that we’ve created, we’re not abandoning our past lives and not forcing our new one to overwrite the pre-existing. The video and the letters and everything else will definitely stay but at that time, it was just their presence that made all the difference.

1st September, 2016 (Edit): Well, I just received a courier. Wasn’t expecting one envelope to hold letters from two separate people, but you know, surprises and all. An interesting observation I’ve made is that everybody loves prefacing, or at some point, mentioning largely non-existent grammatical errors, things that I don’t even care about! I don’t have ridiculously high standards for spelling and grammar and I’d hate if that got in the way of the the real intent of the letter. A letter is a very sacred thing for me and it’s hardly tarnished, if at all, by a few oversights here and there. I can overlook them too, you know. The letters more than served their purpose, they managed to make me feel warm and fuzzy and instantly reminded me of the person that held the pen above that paper. So instantly, everything gushes in, all the references, all the incidents, they all just appear in front of me, close enough to seem tangible, even if only deceptively so. Then there are so many other things that I never gave a second thought to but they did. And it’s always enlightening to hear about that from the opposite end. I got that perspective in abundance, in both of the letters. The rare insight from that opposite end is where I feel warm and fuzzy all over again and persists even after I sheath the letters back into their envelope.