• Bilal Mir


It'll be my birthday an hour from the time I started writing this. Every year I try and get hammered because I think that'll be fun and the next morning of every year the hangover feels as bad if not worse.

I suppose I'll do the same this weekend. Tomorrow I'll go to dinner with my little family that I have out here. Unfortunately I still don't have a job because California's economy hasn't fully restarted and it behooves many people to stay on unemployment where they can make more than eleven dollars an hour.

It doesn't feel great to tick another year off your life calendar while you have a child and not work but the circumstances that surround me at this particular junction in history allow me to feel like less of a piece of shit.

I feel like every year around my birthday the same memory seems to come up. My good friend Leo and I were sitting together at lunch in high school. I think we were juniors or seniors. I had gotten really high and as lunch ended he was like happy birthday and handed me a five dollar bill.

This is a memory that replays in my head briefly this time every year. But when I actually sit down and write about it, it seems to flesh the memory out a little more. There seems to be a deeper, universal truth to it. I could be saying that because in 2011 he died while in Okinawa. No one really knows the circumstances behind his death, but some friends have speculated suicide. He never seemed suicidal to me but maybe for some that's a thing they carry deep inside of themselves, allowing for very few to see. I carry his death with me because we were old friends. I think about him handing me that five dollar bill as I was high as shit. I laughed and turned it down but he kept trying to give it to me. I took it. I don't remember what I bought with it. I don't feel like that part of the memory is important.

Do memories of the dead contain a universal truth? It certainly feels that way, There's a feeling that looking back on this brief shared moment I may be overlooking something. Some slight clue that would unlock something greater. It was of no significance at the time. Perhaps things only mean something when they're brought up years later, after decades of misfortune and failure, wins and growth. I don't know. Maybe I just have one of those annoying memories where I remember the most random shit and it'll continue to haunt me every year around this time and I'll obsess over why it's so important for me to remember it.

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