On the day of my birthday, I received many messages and phone calls – more than I could have ever imagined. The injury represented a turning point for me. Before I suffered it, I used to count the number of birthday wishes; afterward, I stopped counting: numbers were inconsequential because I didn’t need a permanent confirmation of my value in their eyes. But no matter what the number was, they made me feel loved. What is more, despite my insistence against their doing anything, my two brothers and my mother made three cakes. So, the small table was full of food – the three cakes and the fruit Eric bought and cut up.
Then, the guests arrived. We were ten in total, a small party, as I wanted it to be, but emanating warmth and a sense of mutual affection. They sang Happy Birthday, and I blew the candles. And they also sang a funny Happy Birthday song to the music of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” In 2019, there were a lot of people in my birthday party. It was outside in our backyard, and a large table covered with a tablecloth was packed with food brought by the guests (I talk about it in another chapter). It was fun, and I enjoyed it. This party, on the other hand, was inside (the day was unbearably hot), and it was much smaller. There was no food except for the cakes and the fruit. But it was fun, and full of love and joy. I will keep the memories stored in my mind so that I can resort to them when I feel frustrated, or despaired, or depressed – just like going on the deck.