Nineteen was a stupid age. Eighteen was cool and Terry imagined twenty-one would be cool, but nineteen was nothing special. Terry wasn’t even sure if he enjoyed his birthdays. When he’d been a kid it’d been fun ‘cause of the presents but then as he got older it just seemed like an excuse to get drunk, as if he needed one. Last year had been cool ‘cause it was the first time he’d had a serious girlfriend during his bday and Cerise had given him tons of cool stuff. But this year she seemed less enthusiastic. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t really feeling it.
Her gift this year was just clothes. Nice clothes, sure, but nothing special like the toy chicken or the cookies from last year. Should he be worried? Maybe she was just too busy with the play and everything. She seemed to be at rehearsal all the time lately. But it’d been the same deal last year. And last year she’d given him his gifts in private instead of at a bar in front of the whole gang.
He hugged and kissed her enthusiastically so no one would notice he was worried and she giggled and slapped his hand away as he tickled her.
“I love you,” she whispered, nuzzling into his arm. It seemed very genuine so he returned the sentiment happily.
The others gagged and rolled their eyes. Karine gave him a bottle of rum, which he’d started to get into recently. Cool of Karine to notice. Then Nick gave him a wrapped package.
Vani about hit the roof. “You got him a gift? I didn’t get him anything! I’m being upstaged, you guys!”
“It’s ok, Vani,” smirked Karl. “Your love for Terry is one that transcends gifts.”
“Damn fucking straight!” Vani nodded emphatically.
Terry opened the package to find a McGill Redman’s jersey inside. “This a hint?” he laughed.
“Just a bit of encouragement,” smiled Nick. “You know, if you just tried you could really go all the way, Terry.”
“Are you trying to say you wanna go all the way with Terry?” asked Vani in shock.
“I think they’re referring to hockey,” explained Karl.
“You think Terry could be like, a professional hockey player?” asked Cerise in surprise. She wouldn’t be surprised if she ever went to his games. No, that wasn’t fair. She went to plenty of his games. She only missed the ones that conflicted with her rehearsals.
“If he applied himself,” nodded Nick. “I mean I guess it’s a little late. ‘Cause we’re getting old. I mean where sports are concerned. Shame though ‘cause he’s really fucking good.”
“I bet that’s not all Terry’s really fucking good at, eh Cerise?” asked Janice with a wink.
Karine stepped in before Cerise could respond. “Terry shouldn’t be wasting his good looks in hockey. It’s a miracle his face hasn’t already been smashed in. He should go into modelling before it’s too late.”
“He’s more than just a pretty face,” insisted Sarah. “Terry could really go somewhere in life, ‘cause he’s charismatic. Have you thought about politics?”
“Eww, gross,” said Cerise, sparing Terry from having to say it. “Politics are boring as shit. Terry needs to do something fun.”
“Like what?” he asked, grinning down at his girlfriend.
She paused to consider. “You should be a teacher. Like for little kids. You’re so good with them.”
They were all quiet for a moment, considering the suggestion. It wasn’t something Terry had ever thought of before but he supposed it was more reasonable than going pro or being a model.
“Terry can do anything he wants to. The options are endless,” said Sarah.
Jay and his stupid hair about passed out from the aggressive eye-rolling. “I’m just gonna go over to the vomit section of the bar. Call me if you need me.”
“Like anyone would need you,” said Vani dismissively.
They all laughed and Jay frowned in embarrassment. What a fucking tool. This was shaping up to be a pretty good birthday after all.