It’s your birthday and you are thinking thinking thinking and driving aimlessly and stopping in the mall parking lot to scroll your phone because h o m e doesn’t seem like the best place to be on your birthday.

You are loved, so loved, but the text messages and the social media posts fill up nothing except your obsession to keep scrolling and keep hoping at some magic number of likes and loves and pictures posted you will reach birthday happiness and everything will be less depressing and you will smile: you will smile and it won’t be fake and joy will fill the cracks of your brokenness.

You are thirty-four and that seems more odd than thirty three or two or one but you still hoped for champagne and cake and friends to fill your night but instead you were served with feelings of vacancy and loneliness and a soft layer of panic that you will hug because that seems more comforting than your other options.

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