He is forty-four now. It hardly seems possible that this is the same completely irresponsible maniac I met in my early twenties who couldn't stay out of trouble long enough to take a full breath but he might still turn out to be the best of all of us, bar none.
Ben's birthday was last weekend, celebrated somewhat quietly and without public spectacle. He doesn't like to be fussed over or written about these days. I can't help that but I can attempt to respect it so if he appears to be perpetually absent, it could be that he is, or it could be just that I sometimes listen after all.
But as for his birthday, there isn't actually much to share. He worked through it. We worked on Christmas decorations until he came home. I made his favorite dinner, we watched him open his presents and I think he was asleep by nine, fully clothed, and by eleven I was wrestling his things off his unconscious form so that he could try sleeping in the bed instead of on it. I didn't succeed and he woke up with his T-shirt and watch still on and I had a huge scratch on my back from where he slid his arm out around me sometime during the night.
He does not like forty-four, he said the next morning and I reminded him that he might when he can see past the work he has to finish. Birthdays don't always come at convenient times, or maybe life doesn't always allow for proper celebrations and then we're left feeling ripped off and delayed, forced to celebrate on the run like outlaws. Maybe when the pressure eases on him a little we will celebrate properly but for now, this is the way life happens.
Now you can stop emailing me about not writing about it, because I have. Back to the war I go. The red side is winning, though, in case you want to ask about that too.