Happy birthday

That card, that fucking card, was still on the counter. The light above the oven cast grim shadows on the counter, which was littered with receipts and invitations, a hundred restaurants in New York that had prepared food for her or that desperately wished to. The card lay by itself, made visible by its color, a wash of purple and pink balloons, glitter strewn about the edges. She’d scribbled “Eliza” on it and began a halfhearted message, “so proud to be your”, but couldn’t move past that next word. The word. That was three weeks ago. It sat just as she left it, hurrying out the door for dinner in SoHo followed by a date at the opera. Not that kind of date. Just the kind that you track in your planner. If she had a planner. She moved heavily toward the fridge to hunt for leftovers, dragging her hand over the counter. The card slid noiselessly off the edge, landing with a slap in the trash can below.