Monday, February 21

A Birthday For The Ages

First and foremost, I need to apologize for dropping the ball on the 'Love Days'. I was stricken with a throat/head/chest cold from down under, that packed a punch and the worst fever I can recall ever having. Not a great excuse, but I would not have written anything nice about a newborn puppy. I hated the world. I still have a few of you to make up for, and I will.

But for tonight, while the memory is fresh, I need to write about a moment that literally stopped the world from turning for a few moments. The story about this beautiful crew.

I celebrated my 23rd birthday this past week. Celebrated is a definite understatement. It started with an impromptu family trip to Fort Collins and extended into a much awaited and very planned weekend with my friends and family in Denver. Wednesday I had dinner and martinis at an eccentric-sweet-totally-my-style place called Shuga's. My girlfriends attended and brought cameras and cupcakes. The exact formula for an 'Alyssa evening'. I was so touched and happy, that I cried.

Then, I spent a few days in bed...drugging up on Nyquil.

Then, my best, best, BEST friend flew into DIA. This girl, can turn any bad day into a good one, pretty quickly. She is the friend who knows ALL my crap and I know hers, and we love each other anyway. She's the friend who laughs when it's not funny because she knows what I was trying to say. She's the friend who is supportive and there, and the friend who will tell me I made a big mistake. She's the girl that will buy last minute Wal-Mart shoes JUST so she can wear a little black dress for my birthday, too. She's the girl who learns to line dance with me so I don't look completely ridiculous. She's the girl that every girl should get to have. And she flew into town for me....

We had already planned shopping and pedicures and eating and shopping. Mission, completely accomplished. We even spent one night, a girl night, putting on our heels, and seeing a movie, VIP style. Very. Cool. Thanks, Jenn, for the movie! :-) We ended up in our hotel room in pj's, eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's, watching wedding movies, and ooohing and aaahing over some very sweet text messages from some very sweet boys.

But before all of that, there was sushi. Sushi in my favorite restaurant, in my favorite little "center" in Denver, with some of my favorite music, with my most-certainly favorite people. Let me see if I can describe it...

We walk in, dressed up and ready to kill. John Mayer is singing, "I am drivin' 85 in the kind of mornin that lasts all afternoon...". The restaurant has soft lighting, opaque glass walls, a white-linen lounge, and dark cherry, wood dining tables. And, it's empty. Just the 5 of us--maybe there were other people and I was too enthralled to notice. We are seated right by the window (Thanks, Bryce) that looks out on the patio. The patio is lined with cold, leafless trees that are twinkling with lights. It's the kind of day that is perfect for city-living; breezy but warm, dusk but still light, and quiet.

We sit, listen to the menu "favorites" and are intorduced to our quirky, fun waiter, Bryce. We are laughing about the past 24 hours and the long night before. We are talking about our wonderfully-plush hotel beds. We are making jokes and eating soybeans. Our sushi comes out on white plates decorated with colorful sauces. We are then so quiet because it is soooo yummy. We even look pretty sophisticated. We continue talking and laughing and laughing and talking. The music in the background is edgy like coffeehouse style, but soothing and romantic.

And I'm mezmerized.

I'm mezmerized with the place and the moment and the people. Alex, to my left, who has surprised me, even more in the past day. Who is sweetly gazing at me while I tell a story. Dave, to my right, who is saying the most ridiculous things in the most offbeat way...and I'm almost spitting my food out through my nose. Jenn, who is across from me, sharing our inside jokes and smiling. She is close enough to be smiling and laughing WITH me; not over an email or text message. :-) And Zach, the boy who is gazing at her.

I know I'm sounding a little 'hippie-organic-yeah-man' about this simple dinner, but, just imagine a moment so good that the rest of the world completely disappears. The bills and the arguments and the jobs just, leave. Happiness is sitting in your lap feeding you contentment and joy. Perfection is singing lyrics and magic and love are serenading the air.

This dinner and this brithday were so perfect that I cried. It was not the wine or the story about the 4 couples who all met and got married, it was the 4 of you and that restaurant and that day. Who couldn't capture a picture of all this?

Thank you, every, single one of you.

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