Today is Ariela’s birthday. She would have been twenty-seven. We always celebrated with a party and presents. I don’t know what she liked better — being the center of attention or getting all of the presents.
When she was in elementary school, we invited her entire class to her parties.
My mother would never let me leave anyone out. Even Evelyn Miller who had cooties. “You’ll invite Evelyn or there won’t be any party,” my mother said. “Remember, you went to her party.”
Nowadays, it’s amazing how many people don’t reciprocate. Even kids who came to Ariela’s parties year after year. The little girl who lived four houses down. The twins in her Girl Scout troop. Maybe those girls didn’t have parties.
One girl in her class always included Ariela. For one birthday, a long white limousine drove everyone to a restaurant atop a skyscraper in San Francisco. I hear that girl moved to New York City. I’m sure she’s building skyscrapers now.
Ariela had lots of bowling parties. Duck pins when we lived in Massachusetts. Ten pins in California. She took friends to the San Francisco aquarium on two birthdays. Another year to the opening of a Harry Potter movie. At twenty-one, she invited her friends to a nightclub. A few years ago, a friend threw her a surprise party. A lot of great parties, just not enough of them.