The reason I get up in the morning is having a birthday. I remember standing in front of the hospital smoking, sending the pictures, beaming. Everyone wanted to know how much he weighed. I never wanted children until he came into the world. They told me my cholesterol was high when he was one. I drank apple cider vinegar and jogged a thousand miles. Before he was able to speak, he would clap his hands and bounced up and down when I came in. Life had meaning every time I heard his laughter. He was old enough to understand the night we had our last fight; he got down on his knees and cupped his hands and prayed. It broke my heart because I knew he sensed nothing would ever be the same again. He loves me more than anyone, even now as his bones pain from growing. I think about his birthdays, the Elmo cake he smeared all over his baby cheeks, the little boy birthdays with Nerf gun fights. Now there is the worst birthday. The one I would never see. The year that didn’t happen, the one that was stolen. I will light candles and think of the best thing I ever created. I will unwrap a present and patiently wait.
[Jasper Kerkau is a writer/editor/co-creator of Sudden Denouement. His personal blog is Jasperkerkauwriting.com]