Yesterday afternoon and evening were pretty cool. Collins came to visit, and we just hung around. I made good food: skirt steak seasoned with adobo and garlic powder, puerto rican style white rice, and fried ripe plantains. *drool* Oh, those were yummy... y'see, I don't go all out and cook that often, but when I do, it always turns out at least halfway decent. Thank you, Grandma! Your good cook genes live in me!

We sat around, and he gave me a present that I won't mention for fear of offending some people and arousing others. *mischeivous giggle* Oh, he's evil. And I love him.

Because of last night, today I'm in a wonderful mood and don't feel so horrible that my birthday is tomorrow. Crap. in approximately 25.75 hours, it'll be 19 years from the moment I was born. The 6,940th day of my life. I'm getting old. Damn, it'll be SO weird to turn 20. I remember when I turned 10. I thought it was SO cool that my age was now two digits.

It's been SO long since I last had a real birthday party, with my whole family. Four years, I think. Yeah. I don't remember my 16th birthday, nor my 17th. My 18th birthday I only remember because I got my camera. My 15th birthday was very interesting.

First of all, in Latin American cultures, a girl's 15th birthday is a huge deal. They do a cute ceremony in church, where they change from flat shoes to high heels, put a little tiara on the girl, and declare her a young adult. Girls wear awesome dresses, some of them way too bride-like, but, hey, to each her own. I remember, I wanted a nice light purple long dress, with a low back, A-line skirt, ever since I was... 10, probably. Then, as the date neared... I realized that my Dad wasn't going to be able to go. Mom and Dad don't get along at ALL. So, a couple of months before my 15th birthday, I told mom that I didn't want a QuinceaƱero if Dad wasn't going to be invited. Mom said she wouldn't invite him. I said, "But, Mom, what about my high school graduation, and my wedding, and all those other occasions when I'll want you both there?" She said something about not wanting to breathe in the same room that he was in, and him not drinking one soda that she paid for, and not caring if it was my birthday or my wedding or whatever day it was, she didn't want to see him. I called her selfish, and she slapped me.

"I'll never forgive you for saying that, Jen"

"It's okay... I forgive you."

She was shocked. After a couple of seconds of silence, "I don't want or need your forgiveness."

"I forgive you anyway."

After that, it was a long, silent drive home. I think my words probably stung her about as much as her hand stung on my cheek.

It's really weird, but sometimes I feel that when dealing with my parents, I'm actually dealing with little kids. I mean, Mom with her childish temper tantrums, Dad with his careless and carefree way of living, and his way of dealing with relationships that remind me of myself when I was 15. And they're not even old enough to be senile yet...

Anyway, back to my 15th birthday. There were no plans for a big party, which means that there was no big party. I had told Mom I didn't want a party at all. I just wanted Jose (the psycho boyfriend who seemed sweet at the time, as we had only been dating for 2.5 months) to visit me, and maybe we could go and rent a movie or something. But when I talked to Jose, he said that he wouldn't be able to come see me on my birthday. One of his cousins was getting married in some town across the island. So I was bummed, an suddenly out of nowhere come Isa, Carmen, and Julio, three of my best friends from school. Then Giselle, and Eva. Then some family members, and slowly people started showing up. I went and changed into a pretty green dress because, whether I liked it or not, I was having a party. I was sad that Dad wouldn't be there, but at least it wasn't like "well, I'm having this huge party and I can't invite you, sorry." My friends distracted me in my room for a minute, and when I went back to the living room, there was Jose with his whole family, his father holding a huge birthday cake, and him with a beautiful rag doll (I love rag dolls), and an arrangement of 15 pink roses, and balloons. Cute. I was happily surprised. I don't remember much more about it.

So, if even that birthday, which was probably the most intense one, has faded from my memory, it shouldn't matter what I do tomorrow, because I won't remember it in a year anyway. Right? Right.

I'm just going to go to my aunt's. We're going to watch a movie. She said they'd sing happy birthday to me and get a small cake, and it'll be great. Yeah.

So, why do I feel like crying?