You turned twenty five today!
You are in the field, so I didn’t call you, though ordinarily I would have. But I have been thinking about you all day, from when I woke up in my apartment to the end of my hike in the mountains above town, where the moose were mowing down shrubbery and Denali was lighting up across the water.
I thought about you when my hands got so cold from holding the steering wheel on the drive home that I had to take a hot shower. I know you would have made me bring gloves even though I hate gloves because you are the most prepared person under 50 that I know.
Your birthday gives you a fourteen day edge on reality, and has imbued you with wisdom I can only hope to attain. You’ve been on my level longer than anyone else.
I love your voice. I love your laugh. I love the gap between your front teeth, thought it has gotten smaller as we have gotten older, which makes you sad. A few years ago when gaps got really big on runway models, I loved emailing you all the articles I could find about fashionable gaps, even though at the time we were both in college, miserable, and thoroughly fashionless.
But then I went to visit you during Spring Break, you rented a red Prius and did all the driving through the California hills, and we went to the beach and lay in the sand next to the Pacific. It was foggy the whole time and somehow it still kind of convinced me that the the rest of our lives were going to be okay.
You have let me take an unimaginable number of pictures of your face, starting before the eighth grade. If someone did this to me, I would consider it torture. Full stop. You are the most patient, least vain model I know.
Without me, you captained a college frisbee team. You followed Hannibal’s trail across the Alps. You learned to play the guitar and watched Battlestar Galactic in its entirety. You get us both carded at every bar we go to, but you also have a master’s degree. You listen to sea chanties for fun. You make the best god damn smoked salmon pesto pizza on the planet. I’ve hated every boyfriend you’ve ever had, although perhaps less than you have hated mine. I could chart changes in your personality across our 2.5 decades like you were a social science experiment.
To be clear, I do not see you as a social science experiment.
If I become famous and the New York Times needs someone to write my obituary, you should be the person they call. If you become famous, and the New York Times needs someone to write your obituary, I will already be in their office crying and flailing my manuscript at their desks.
As a profession, you now lead troubled people out into the wilderness so that they can prove to themselves they are not so troubled they can’t make their way in the world. This makes perfect sense because it’s what you’ve been doing to me since we were four. You took me on my first hunting trip. You took me backpacking. You’re the reason I’ve seen the northern lights from the top of a mountain. When the bow of the boat got sucked into the waterfall at Redoubt, and we spent thirty-heart stopping seconds rushing and trying to push off the rocks while the whole waterfall just poured straight into the boat, you didn’t even yell at me for breaking the dip net by trying to use it as a pike pole.
You are the only person in the world who genuinely makes me feel like I should be reading more YA fantasy novels. You are also the only one who can tell stories about pooping that do not make me uncomfortable.
You are a badass. You have highly glamorous hair. You are my best-case scenario for what unconditional love should be like in the real world.
Jeez, I am glad you were born.
Let me know what being twenty five is like, so when I get there, I'm prepared.