The City

May 1st, 2021

Every year on my birthday, my favorite song to turn on and up (by one of my favorite bands, The 1975) is called The City. By the time I get to the pre-chorus, I find myself in the right mood. The lyrics there go:

“Yeah, well, she said, ‘It’s your birthday. Are you feeling alright?'”

I think so.

I don’t know.

Not really.


Kind of.


All of the above, if I’m being honest. When I’m asked how I’m doing, every answer cycles through my head until I deliberately decide on the one that is expected of the moment, but not the one I really want to say. I don’t think that’s abnormal. I think it’s alright. Like the song.

“And don’t call it a spade if it isn’t a spade

Go lie on the floor if you want

The first bit of advice that you gave me that I liked was ‘They’re too strong, too strong’

Get in the shower if it all goes wrong”

I’ve read a lot about how other people grieve, and wanting to lie on the floor or stay in the shower tops many of those lists. I’ve heard of people who couldn’t get out of bed for months, or who just weren’t the same person they used to be.

That is what I want to do, and there is no space in most people’s lives to do what they want to do.

Last year on this day, my immediate family (spearheaded by my mom, who never missed an event or occasion of my life if she could help it) was still determined to come over to my place and say happy birthday, despite the new world of the pandemic, despite the fact that I made them stay outside.

My mom brought over these party decorations and made me pose in front of them, the last time she would ever do that.

“If you want to find love, then you know where the city is.”

That lyric seems apparent upon first listen, but it’s meant something different to me every year.

This year, the city has been the people who have been willing to share their love and kindness with me. I don’t always deserve it. And this year, the city has had to get up and find me, not the other way around, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I made it one more round, up another level, I added a chapter.

“You hope that, that the boy will be alright.”

I think I am. I mean, it’s my birthday. I have to be, right?


Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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