Happy Birthday


Five years ago and about a month or so before today, I got a phone call. It was from my friend and he was in Chinatown in San Francisco with his friend and her brother. Her brother has some developmental issues – I don’t know the extent or what type, but really that doesn’t matter. Today, he traveled from the group home he lived in to San Francisco to meet his sister and her friend. He did part of this journey by himself, following their directions because the initial ride to pick him up fell through. After they met him, they traveled by public transport. I think they took him to the Castro and the pier/waterfront, but I’m not sure if I’m remembering it correctly from this particular visit.

It was Chinese New Year in Chinatown in San Francisco. This would have been a big deal for anyone, let alone someone who wasn’t familiar with crowds and noise, the tastes, and the other things happening that was both new and strange and in the end, hopefully wonderful.

And it was.

I know because I received a phone call, asking me to call the brother and congratulate him on all he’d done that day. It was a social media request to their mutual friends, but at the time, no one had called, so I was asked to stand in and give him the sound of a voice.

I was extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t know the brother and I had had my problems with the sister, but the cause was honorable, and important, and everyone should hear when they’ve done good; when they’ve done what others had deemed the impossible.

Congratulations were definitely in order.

I called. I spoke to him, and he was just as excited as he should have been. His accomplishment was huge. We talked for a minute or two and then he handed the phone to my friend. We said hello and goodbye and then the phone calls were coming in to wish E the best.

I can only imagine that the accolades were equal to the accomplishment in E’s mind. He did the impossible.

Happy Birthday to Brittany, his sister who would have been thirty-two today. I still pray for you every day, and when my lilac tree blooms in the spring, I think of you. I think of you often.

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