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Well it wasn't the cake (yes it was it was four layers and filled with pastry cream so it was, it was the cake) so much as having friends like Nell who are willing to bake you a sheep and then balance it in their lap as they drive it across town to your house. If you take into account how busy we all are, all the deadlines and demands and how intentional we must be with our spare time, things like that just seem extraordinarily and almost confoundingly nice.
And Kelli did it again, came over and whipped up a party at my house after 3 straight nights working on the pulmonary floor. She brought ice cream and cheesecake, we made lasagna and started talking a mile a minute and drinking New Belgium Fat Tires that go down awfully easy, it turns out.
That's when things started to speed up a bit on my birthday, a big rush of spring air flooding through the door, Pauline and Lee arriving with a baby dressed in a tiny tuxedo, carrying strawberry pie and something called a chocolate infinity pie, and all of a sudden there were just pies everywhere and also flowers- people kept bringing flowers through the front doors and Dave would take them and stick them in mason jars until we ran out and had to double them up.
Then my cousin came with a bottle of white champagne and my future in-laws with red wine and French chocolate, and then I was in my bedroom wearing my wedding dress as some of my girlfriends and my friend Daniel, who I'd inexplicably dragged into the room with them, were telling me how beautiful it was and wasn't that sash the perfect shade of blue and shouldn't I set that purple drink down?
Obviously, it's not just having a birthday and a lot of nice friends. My job offered me 15 extra articles for this month at the last possible moment. They are all destination articles about Boone, the little Appalachian mountain town nearly two hours away, so I have to skip some classes and drive up there for a few days. I'm so grateful to get new assignments and so scared of falling behind in school. I stayed behind in my microbiology lab last week to work on a gram stain, so simple but I'm useless with my hands, and the morose professor exclaimed, "How is it possible that you can't do this yet?" Kind of a jackass move but the thing is, I agree with him.
I've learned that the best thing to do at this point is to crawl out of bed into the living room and try to read a book on the couch. Other times I watch old episodes of Friends. I've come to associate Jennifer Anniston with a dark, quiet house and mild nausea. Some nights I'm able to will myself back to sleep and other nights I can't.
I'm such a treat these days.
It will subside though, it will get better soon. The insomnia eventually breaks like a fever and the stomach ache retreats. After thirty lucky, light-shattering and anxiety-riddled spins around the sun I've come to learn the patterns. I hope it will get better before we go to Seattle in a week but I'm not counting on it. Although that's not the worst thing. If I showed up back in that city without a touch of neurosis, without talking too much and too fast and losing my keys and curling up on friends couches with a headache, I don't think anyone would recognize me.