May 22, 3:45 am: We were the only two left in the living room...everyone else had left or gone to bed. It wasn't until I could no longer stay awake that I reluctantly decided to leave...
Candy: 'I feel like we should hug or something but that would be awkward.'
Me: 'I was just thinking the same thing.'
That's the way we are...the best of friends that would do anything for each other...except hug. BUT, the fact that I could easily count on one hand the amount of times we've actually hugged does not make the friendship any less meaningful.
As we were driving to the Spazmatics she turned to me and said, ‘when you walked in you almost looked like you were going to cry.’ She was referring to my response to the surprise party she had put together. The truth is, I did get a little choked up...still do when I think about it.
For the past few years I have planned my own birthday parties...not because I'm that vain but because it is a good excuse to guilt people into spending time together. The usual excuses are no longer valid when it’s someone’s birthday…everyone has to come. Okay, they don’t have to but they are more inclined to do so. My birthdays usually involve some sort of food and 80’s dancing…this year I planned pretty much the same thing. The plan was to meet at Candy’s house for dinner (take-and-bake pizza from Nick and Willy’s), take pictures of our awesome 80’s costumes, and then head out to see my favorite 80’s cover band.
I made it easy for her to get me to her house since that is what I had planned on all along. But that was the only easy thing for her that night. As I walked toward the kitchen I saw a few people that I wasn’t expecting and by the time I made it all the way there I heard a big shout, ‘Surprise!’ That was an understatement.
Lots of people have surprise parties, right? So, why would I (the person who boasts not showing emotion) get choked up? Because of the time and effort that was spent in my behalf…to make this birthday special. It is one thing to have balloons, decorations, and treats BUT it was entirely another thing to have all of those things catered to my individual tastes. There was everything from a fondue pot with chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels, and marshmallows, to Oreos, to black licorice, to ‘purple soda’, to homemade frosted sugar cookies, carrot cake (she enlisted the help of my mom on those two), ‘argyle’ and Pac-Man cakes (thanks to Carly), pulled pork sandwiches (thanks for her parents) and the list goes on.
As wonderful as the food and decorations were, they paled in comparison to the people that were there. Candy made sure to invite everyone that she could think of that I would like to have there...for some of them, it was the first time I was able to share my birthday with them, for others it had been years since I had that privilege. For the few that had other commitments, this is my way of sharing with you the amazing night that Candy had arranged.
No party is complete without a piñata, right? Well, there were even a couple of those thanks to Lance and Mike. The problem…no bat. The solution…’ninja punching’. I now believe that every piñata should be ninja punched as the puncher is attacked by the piñatas.
After eating, picture taking, and piñata punching the group sang Happy Birthday as loudly as I’ve ever heard it sung. Some people left and went home, the rest of us headed out for an evening of dancing. While we were at the club I was approached by two different people who said things that perfectly define the night:
The first was Brysen. He first asked why Candy and I aren’t married…not an uncommon question for either one of us to hear. He then said, ‘who does something like this.’ I quickly responded by telling him that Candy is easily one of my best friends…he replied saying, ‘I have lots of good friends but none of them would do something like this.’ I thought about it for a second and it made me realize just how fortunate I am to be friends with Candy.
Raymond was half-drunk but fully sincere when he pulled me aside and said that the party and everything that went into it was a testament that ‘not all nice guys finish last.’ He went on to tell me what a blessing it was to have such a close group of friends, especially a friend like Candy that would go above and beyond to plan such a memorable night.
That is the best way to describe the night…memorable. I will not soon forget my 31st birthday or, as my dad calls it, the second anniversary of my 29th birthday. I can’t thank everyone enough for all that they did to make it such an unforgettable night. ..especially Candy!