Would Have Been

Today would have been my father’s 74th birthday.

We would have called him early this morning to wake him with our off key rendition of Happy Birthday to You.

We would have gathered together at his house for a family meal. My mom would’ve made all of his favorites. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw. The wine would have flowed. The conversation would have gotten louder and more animated.

We would have told stories of past birthdays. He would have laughed until he coughed.

After the meal was finished and the dishes were washed we would have put desserts on the table. My mom would have made brownies yesterday. There would be no edge pieces today, because he would have already eaten all of them last night. He would have taken five different trips to the kitchen, and stood over the counter, sneaking them, as if my mom didn’t know what he was doing in there.

We would have turned off the lights, and lit the candles on the Carvel cake. We would have sung Happy Birthday for the second time today.

He would have looked at each of us as we snapped photos of his face glowing in the candle light. His blue eyes would have sparkled and shone. He would have taken a deep breath and blown out the candles.

He would have made a wish.

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