August 2nd, 2008

ledbetter tat

Forever 39

“What do you want for your birthday, Guyster?”


“What do you want for your birthday?” I repeat the question with playful annoyance.

“I dunno.”

My thumb runs over the smooth glass, tracing his arm.

“How about I wrap up some dog poo and give it to you?”


“I’m gonna unless you tell me––“


I rub over his face.

“Okay. I’m going to take you to dinner and lavish you with expensive gifts that you’ll never use.”




My forefinger wanders up to the silver-plated frame that’s lost its luster over the years; the words that Billy had engraved I’m Missing You are still visible. He’s shirtless, a beaming smile under his sailor hat, his arm outstretched and anchoring him to his bunk.

“Want to have a party? It lands on a Saturday this year.”

“Surprise me! Get me whatever you. I’m busy.” He noodles with his mixer, one earbud dangling down his left side. The whole conversation is silly, really, since I’ve already bought him that iPhone, and I have organized his friends to surprise him in the private room at Baja Cantina.

I give his smiling face a long wet kiss, the glass warm on my lips, and put the framed photo back in its place, by my bedside.