To Esther

Do you remember when in school the poor sods, whose birthday it was in the summer holidays, never got the chance to wear their papercrown in front of the whole class, stand on a chair and have everyone sing to them. When it was time for birthday parties they could never have them on their actual birthday because everyone had buggered off to France or Spain.

They were often the youngest of the year  or the eldest and overall it kind of sucked. (Though my birthday is in December, you know what that means: Christmas and birthday presents in one. This is not acceptable! Also, no one has time or money to go out with all the Christmas lunches etc. Anyway… steps of soapbox.)

My friend Esther was one of those children, unfortunately for her she is also the kind of friend who remembers everything. Good luck postcards for exams and rootcanal treatments, the caring text message to see how your job interview went, the encouraging letter when the kitchen has flooded and the goldfish has died (in an unrelated event.) Even with a North Sea between us, she manages to get things spot on. We might not talk and write as much as we used to but I like to think that we are there for each other when it matters.

With one exception.

In all those years (and I do mean years, even when we were really close.) I never managed to remember. I have been a week out, or even a month out once… Even after the time she gave me a birthday calendar for my birthday. This year  I thought about it last week and over the weekend and then this afternoon:


So shoddy voicemail ( she was obviously out with better friends!) it had to be and a public apology for the 26th time:

Darling Esther,

Happy Birthday! Hope you are having a wonderful day.

I am once again truly sorry about being such a rubbish friend.

May life grant you many more birthdays, giving me a chance to get it right one year.

Lots of love


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