Tomorrow I turn 31. It’s the birthday I have dreaded. It means I am officially in my thirties. While I spent the last 364 days as a thirty year old, I could always say “Well, last year in my twenties…” I don’t think I ever uttered that sentence, but it was in my back pocket if needed. It was comforting to think that my twenties were still in the rearview mirror.
Thirty being a milestone birthday deserved a big party. I celebrated mine with a Pilgrims and Indian themed birthday party. I remember looking around that night at my group of friends, who had no shame going to a bar with giant Indian head dresses and Pilgrim hats, thinking how lucky I was to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends. People stared. We laughed. It was a great way to celebrate the next decade. But what I didn’t know at the time, is it was the last hurrah for that group of friends. All of our lives were changing. Marriages happened, babies were born and I moved to the suburbs. Our lives that were once so closely woven had loosened so that only a few pieces remain intact. Those few pieces – my best friends Evelyn, Jack and Tom – were with me on Saturday to celebrate 31.
I met Evelyn and Jack through my sister Lana. It would take a few years for us to become best friends but when we needed each other most, our friendship evolved. In 2009, each of us were having shitty years. Within months, Jack broke up with his partner of 7 years, Evelyn’s father was diagnosed with cancer, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and to top it off, our common bond was leaving – Lana was moving to Canada. In a few short months, it seemed our lives were falling apart. But rather than let ourselves fall, Evelyn, Jack and I found comfort in each other. We distracted ourselves with laughs over bottles of wine, late night dinners and companionship. We did everything together. It was rare to find one of us without the other.
I met Tom at work. We were both starting a new job and sat next to each other at orientation. I introduced myself eager to make a work friend. He was not as eager. He and I crossed paths every day at work but it would be four years until our first date.
It was Evelyn who pointed out the chemistry between Tom and me after a work happy hour. She was right. I couldn’t get him out of my head. He was the type of man I had always dreamed of dating – smart, kind, interesting, funny and handsome. He was perfect. A few months later, he asked me out.
The night before our first date Evelyn came over for a typical Friday night – Scrabble and a bottle of wine. We were perched at my table gossiping when Jack texted. A guy he was dating stood him up, and he was in the dumps. Evelyn and I told him to come over and to bring more wine. It was no different than it was during those infamous shitty months in 2009, the three of us would do anything for each other. Jack was at my door in ten minutes. We sat on the couch comforting each other and laughing within minutes. We had an impromptu dance party in my living room that night, not a care in the world while we drank ourselves silly. The next morning I woke up to see Evelyn and Jack passed out on the couch like the perfect friends they were. And just like I didn’t know it on my 30th birthday, this night was a sort of last hurrah for Evelyn, Jack and myself. You see, I was 29 and that night, Tom and I had our first date. I fell in love with the man I will someday marry.
As much as I never wanted the dynamic to change between Evelyn, Jack and me, it did. I started spending more time with Tom. I wasn’t in the city as much. I was missing the nightly walks and random texts to meet for drinks. And while we still emailed religiously every day, things were different. Evelyn and Jack remained a constant in each other’s lives, while I floated in and out.
I dreaded the night I told Evelyn I was moving out to the suburbs permanently. I was leaving my apartment that was a 2 minute 33 second walk from hers and a 6 minute 44 second walk to Jack’s – door-to-door. I was laying on Evelyn’s bed watching her do the dishes. It was something I wanted to tell her in person. The fleeting times that I had been a constant since dating Tom was officially ending. I was moving a month after my 30th birthday.
Saturday Jack and Evelyn showed up to our house with Sprinkles cupcakes and party hats in tow. What ensued after was an adventure of line dancing, followed by getting locked out of our house. We ended up driving back to the city at two in the morning to sleep for a few hours before heading back to meet Tom’s parents with keys. And just like two years prior, I woke up to find Evelyn and Jack passed out on the couch just like the perfect friends they were.
Evelyn had to drive back to the city after dropping us off. Tom and I were exhausted, and I can only imagine how she was feeling. After a three hour nap, I checked facebook to see Evelyn and Jack reunited for Bloody Mary’s after her return to the city.
After a twinge of jealousy of missing out, I looked at my new constant – Tom – half awake on the couch. He smiled at me perplexed as my face twisted in thought. In that moment, I was reflecting on the last year. A lot in my life has changed since turning 30 but one thing has remained – Evelyn and Jack.
Our friendship will follow me into this new decade, the next decade and the next. So maybe 31 isn’t so bad. After all, I have a whole new decade of memories to create.