Birthday boy

December 30, 2009

Has it really been 9 years that you’ve been mine?

I remember the first day I met you. I opened the door and you were cowering behind your father, clutching his knees. I could see your small fingers digging into his skin.

“He’s shy; he’ll warm up,” your father said.

Your father and I had been dating for just over a month. I was excited and nervous to meet you. My cat, Wallace, howled noisily and circled you both, sniffing.

“I have a cat,” you mumbled, studying the back of your father’s knees.

“Really?” I said, in an overly loud and too-perky voice. “What’s your cat’s name?”

You looked at me then, eyes narrowing, suspicious and startled by my familiarity. You took a step back. And another. “I’m not telling you.”

It was a bit of a rocky start. I was too eager. You were too guarded. I asked many questions; you answered in grunts. It was not clear if I was for Evil or for Good.

The first time we spent an afternoon alone, while your father worked, you had to call me from the bathroom, crying in humiliation and alarm, needing my help. I could see how much it cost you to do that.

Slowly, carefully, we forged down a common road, sometimes circling each other, sometimes with me following one step behind.

My little man-cub, so cautious and serious. Wise beyond your years. Now you’re taller than I am, driving away in your shiny red car.

I wave goodbye and shut the door. And wait for your return.

Happy 17th Birthday, man-cub. Who is now a lot more man than cub. I love you.

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