Birthday Thoughts

By Audrey W.





Today was his birthday and so. . .


What had he done?


John Gage stood in front of the mirror over his bathroom sink, clad just in blue boxer shorts, almost ready to turn in for the night. It was August 28th, also his 28th birthday. With this birthday being anticipated what with the two numbers matching up, it made him thoughtful of just what he’d accomplished in life up to this age.


He’d had what he figured was an average childhood; in and out of trouble as much as any other typical boy, sometimes getting grounded, and certainly not a student that excelled at his grades. But he never got held back, he did okay.


In sports, he was so-so when it came to neighborhood games as a kid, especially baseball. He could run on the ‘field’ fast enough, but wasn’t the top batter or pitcher. But he did do better than some of his buddies. He also didn’t do too shabby in track in high school; even earned the nickname ‘The Galloping Greyhound’. That memory brought a slight lopsided grin to his face.


Now as an adult, he was more into bowling and fishing, the latter he learned from some Saturdays out with his grandfather and dad. The fishing sometimes added to his travels lately, too.


Travel. . .


John’s smile widened.


He’d gone on a few trips as a youth with his parents and siblings from their home in California. His dad didn't trust airplanes, so the family would take to the road during some summers. There was South Dakota, where he saw Mount Rushmore; the Rocky Mountains of Colorado; to a relative's ranch in Wyoming. And of course, who could forget seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time at age six? He’d always remember the wonder of it then and it still amazed him now.


The summers they didn't go far, he would spend visiting on an Indian reservation within the state. That was always a learning experience.


As far as employment went, John felt really good about what he’d achieved. As a teenager he worked part time at a local gas station, filling patrons’ cars with gas, wiping off windshields and checking their oil if they wanted. He recalled the pride of his first paycheck and the smiles on his parents’ faces when he brought it home. The job led to him getting interested in automotive magazines like ‘Wheels and Gears’, thus he learned more about cars than he might’ve if he hadn’t held the job.


Of course, his real desire had been to become a fireman someday, which he was now. Then came the paramedic training, which elevated him and others to an elite group involved in ground breaking achievements in the field. They were role models for other fire departments across the country who had implemented the same kind of training in their counties because of California’s success. 


John smiled again. He couldn’t ask for more than what he’d become in his professional life. If his parents were still alive, they’d be very proud.


Man, I miss ‘em. . .


But now that he really thought about it, there was still one area where he wasn’t quite where he had hoped to be by this time. An area his mom would probably be nagging him about.


Girls. . .


Now there was a subject he didn’t have a lot of success in. It wasn’t from lack of trying, but perhaps from trying too hard. He wasn’t really sure. All he knew was that he hadn’t been what one would call lucky-in-love ever in his life.


Not once. . .


Well, thinking on it more, that wasn't exactly true. He'd come close to maybe getting engaged before he was ready when a girlfriend named Barbara misunderstood a hand squeeze during a movie and thought he'd proposed to her. She'd decided they needed to wait before John had to explain the miscommunication.


Man, was *that* a close call! I sure was lucky there!


And then there was his engagement last year to Valerie -- a beauty he was so certain would be 'the one'. Fortunately for him, that relationship fell apart. He wasn't ready for instant fatherhood with her three brats. . .


Uh, kids. . .


So he was lucky in or out of love at least twice in his life.


John looked closer at his image in the mirror and sighed. He wasn’t getting any younger. Not that he was old, but he sure wasn’t the boyish looking young man he’d been when he first joined up with the fire department. Maybe it was finally time to seriously start looking to settle down.


He thought about his partner Roy DeSoto and his family. Roy was lucky. He had a pretty wife and two kids, a house, a dog, everything a guy could ask for. In fact, John had just recently come home from a birthday party for him at Roy’s house that ended a couple of hours earlier. Roy’s wife Joanne wanted to have it for him. A few staff members from Rampart General Hospital were there, as were his fellow crew members and several fire fighters he knew from around the county. It turned out to be a great time for everyone. But he was in another of his dry spells as far as girls went, thus didn’t have a date.


He pursed his lips.


If only he had a girlfriend, he could be spending time with her right now instead of standing by himself in his bathroom in boxers thinking about life over the past twenty-eight years! And if things were going well, who knows, he could’ve been close to getting engaged again, maybe even already married! Then he’d have a girl around all the time to talk to or at least listen to if she didn’t let him get in a word. . .he could relax while she made him breakfast when he came home after a twenty-four hour shift on duty, then he’d go over the ‘honey-do list’ and see how much she had planned for him for the next couple of days. . .then there would always be holidays with the in-laws. . .


On second thought. . .


Today was his birthday and so. . .


What had he done?


Enough for now. . .


John stepped away from the mirror and turned off the bathroom light on his way out of the room.




Inspired by the John Lennon song 'And So This is Christmas'


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