But if I don't say it or think it or write it or tell someone then I might forget that September 26th is significant. If I forget, then others will start to forget too and that's the thing that worries me the most. Forgetting. Already I have to stop and think about how old you would be, which is really quite ridiculous because you're less than a year older than me, so there really shouldn't be a lot of thought required here. You would be 36, but that somehow doesn't sound right. You shouldn't be 36. You're not 36, you're forever 27 and I think that's what you wanted because you talked so much about the 27 club like you had it planned all along.
The first September 26th without you I decided to buy myself a present. I was still in college and really didn't have a lot of money, but it was easy to justify because I told myself the money would've been spent on you, but since you weren't around I spent it on myself instead. I only did that once. Now that it's been 8 years I really can't justify buying myself a present on your birthday anymore because sometimes it seems strange that you were ever here at all.
Last year I got the gang together and we went to Red Robin on your birthday. The one in Broomfield, not Boulder, because the one in Boulder is gone which I know you would be sad about. Can you believe that it was me who had to get the gang together? I rarely organize social events. It caused quite the panic attack, but all went well and I'm feeling much more social. I didn't think about it this year. I should've done it this year. It could be a tradition. We could eat at Red Robin every year on your birthday. Except for this year.
I remember the first birthday I acknowledged that it was your birthday. I'd known you for years but was so lost in my own world that I never knew when your birthday was. But then we started dating on August 31st and suddenly you were having a birthday and it was very important that I get you the exact right perfect thing. It was terrible timing, by the way, just so you know. Having a birthday one month after you start dating someone. It's rude, really. What kind of a gift do you get? I got you a toaster. I was flipping out for days and then the night before your birthday we were talking on the phone and you were going through this elaborate process of making toast on the stove because you didn't have a toaster and I was like "Eureka!" So the next day I went to the thrift store and found you a really awesome toaster. It was awesome because you could put four pieces of bread in it. You were really excited.
I feel like maybe I should think of you when I make toast, but I don't. I don't actually make toast very often but when I do I don't think of you. Sometimes I think of you less and less and other times you're right there in my head like I saw you yesterday and it's so very strange. I don't know how to celebrate your birthday or if I even should of if I should even think about it because in reality it's just a day. If I didn't know the date I wouldn't feel anything different, yet the calendar tells me it's September 26th so surely I must feel something because once upon on time on September 26th good things were happening instead of this strange empty feeling and a necklace resting heavily on my neck.
Anyway, I guess I'll just say it: Happy Birthday, Josh.