Tomorrow I'm turning thirty-eight, so this morning I strutted my fanny around the house announcing: "It's my birthday eve, ya'll. Time to celebrate! Today I'm buying a new outfit for tomorrow's lunch and maybe I'll get a new kohl eyeliner from MAC, the electric blue one."
My homies, now awake but still in bed, chortled, "Happy birthday eve. Happy birthday eve, Mom."
I was up earlier than everyone else because I had promised mi Amor an early morning Don Draper (a haircut, chicas). A couple months ago at lunch, a waitress told him his hair looks like Don Draper's, and she couldn't have paid the man a better compliment.
"She wants a piece of you, Don." I said, smiling as he told me the story. "Who wouldn't want to get with a successful, charming, and funny man? You need to wear your wedding ring or the next time she sees you she'll think you're available, and she'll leave her number on your bill. Are you available or something?"
"Oh, please, Katy! She was just talking about my hair, not the rest of me."
"I don't like it when you call me Katy," I said. "And you STILL don't know how girls work? She was trying to tell you she thinks you're cute. Girls don't give compliments unless they're flirting. What will I do with you, Don? Can't you see she wants to be your Betty?"
"I'm just a simple man, Katy; I take what I hear at face value."
This is his way of surrendering when a woman's world becomes incomprehensible.
As I began cutting his hair I reinvented my birthday list. "I'd love Bond No. 9 perfume, but it's 170 bucks for a bottle the size of a thimble, so don't get me that. I also want these sandals I saw at Nordstrom the other day. I almost bought them, but you know how cheap I am; I never pay over 50, so don't buy those, either."
Concerned, he replied, "What should I buy again? I mean, I have a few ideas, but I don't want to later hear that you felt like I didn't put enough thought into celebrating your birthday. Remember how you got so mad when I bought those flowers from Bashas' on the way home from work? They spent 10 minutes on the counter before they were strewn across the backyard lawn."
He swiveled his head, his wet black hair slipping from between my fingers. "You really don't want the perfume and sandals? I'm not supposed to decipher that no really means yes, right? I'm still getting you the iPad with my American Express points, correct? Over a week ago you said that's what you really wanted."
"Yes, yes, the iPad." I nodded. "We can share it, and I'll use it for my Sunday lessons. I still want the iPad. All this other talk is just wishful thinking out loud." I moved from trimming the hair around his ears to the hair around his neckline. I slid my hands to the base of his neck and gently tilted his head forward. He continued talking, his voice echoing against the nylon cape draped around his shoulders.
"If you've changed your mind, I'll pickup something else."
"No, the iPad, I still want it," I said, quickly reaffirming my original birthday wish. "Besides, it's like the iPad is free, and I'm grateful you're sacrificing your points instead of saving them for your trip to Japan."
"You know what I want to give you most of all, my love?" He calls me love when we're most intimate.
"No. What?" I said, hinged to his words.
"Happiness. I want you to be happy. Happy here with me. Happy in Arizona. Just happy, you know?"
"I am. I am." I said it twice, convincing the two of us.