I ordered some food. It took longer than I thought to be done, but I didn’t mind it. I sat looking at myself and thinking.
I looked at my jeans, so washed up and faded. I bought them during my second year in my previous college, and they were always my favorite. They had coffee stains from last year, and though I washed it many times, they were still there. I wondered how many people have noticed them.
I looked at my arms. My younger brother joked a few years earlier that they were hairy; he called me a werewolf.
It was silent in the restaurant, and I remembered the noises the new students made throughout last week. It was orientation week. I observed that they seemed young. I was amazed by the difference between us, even though I was only older by a year.
I asked myself if I envied them. But I quickly dismissed the thought. I hoped and assumed that I didn’t.
I must have done a perfect job of making my last birthday unremarkable. I don’t remember what I wore, where I was, or what I did. Really, if my age is counted by the birthdays I remember, I would be still 23 years, or much much younger.
This year, however, I failed to do the same.
I thought too much. In fact, I thought enough about today that I thought of a birthday wish.
I wish I never have to go through another day like today.
I would have preferred if my birthday was confined to a physical place, and I could choose whether to attend it or not. It would be only a minor detail whether my age became 24.01 years or remained 23.99 years.
My food was done, and I was hungry but I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I took a bite, and planned to take the rest home.
I stopped by a shop to buy a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. My only other pack was consumed throughout the last year of college. I thought the day was already abnormal that it didn’t matter what I did anymore.
I remembered when my older brother and I were talking, and he said to me that we should be very grateful our parents warned us a lot about smoking. He told me that most of his friends smoked, but he never smoked and never wanted to.
I also remembered when I was in summer camp, and in the chemistry lab they showed us how much smoking is harmful through an experiment. Later, we saw the assistant for that lab smoking and we were surprised. He was in the same lab, he even prepared some of the materials on the harmful effects of smoking.
As I was driving back home, I regretted not going to see my sister.
I smoked the first cigarette, and then I followed it with five more. Unlike smoking in college, this time I enjoyed every second of it. I listened to Present Tense by Radiohead on repeat through the ride home. The smokes hurt my eyes a little bit and it was more difficult to see in front of me. I reminded myself that I don’t need to smoke. I could just drive off a ledge. But I always feared I would regret it when it was too late.
I really wish I don’t have to go through another day like today.