To Make You Feel My Love

I was working on my birthday in 2001.

I was called to the hospital to talk to the young survivor of an attempted suicide. The meeting ran far longer than expected, and I hadn’t taken the time to find a phone and call Mark to let him know I wouldn’t make it for our dinner date to Angelo & Maxie’s, my favorite restaurant.

By the time I finished at the hospital, I was mentally drained, exhausted, and starving. I truly just wanted to hide from the world for a while. When I walked into my apartment, there were pieces of copy paper taped up everywhere with crudely drawn pictures of cakes and balloons. One said “Happy Birthday, Superman”.

More paper lined the floor with arrows pointing me toward the living room where Mark had made a huge blanket fort stuffed with pillows and cushions. Inside was a tray with takeout containers from Angelo & Maxie’s and a whole cheesecake from Junior’s with a green votive candle half-sunk into it. My brain couldn’t process what I saw, what I had seen that day. I began to cry.

Mark put his arms around me and I let myself collapse into him. When I tried to steady myself, he pulled me back and said “Let me be Superman tonight.” He patted the cushion next to him and motioned for me to sit before he handed me a fork and busied himself opening the containers.

We ate mostly in silence, which was never something he was particularly good at. It was a gift he knew I needed and he gave it without a second thought. It wasn’t the flashiest or most elaborate birthday, but it was the last one I would have with him.

Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever.