His alarm sounded at 6:30 am. He, she, and his friend all had to share one queen size bed that filled the entire room they were staying in. He and she woke several times in the night, getting big drinks of water. The room was almost unbearably hot and uncomfortable, giving them a weak night’s sleep. “Babe, if you want to go to the parade you are going to have to get up.” He nudged, though she was reluctant to get up. She could feel the onset of her hangover closing in but she had never seen the Macy’s Day Parade in person before.
He hurried her to get ready. The lack of sleep over the past couple days stalled the process. As she began to put on some light make-up, she saw her reflection in the mirror, remembering, “It’s my birthday.” She smiled at the thought, although turning 22 wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world then again birthdays always excited her, especially when she knew she got to be with him, uninterrupted, all day long.
He was in a haze himself, completely forgetting what day it was. His friend had passed on his Metro Card to her. She saw it as a birthday gift. He and she were going solo to the parade since his friend’s flight prevented him from joining them. They separated as he and she made their way down the many flights of stairs, hoping to soon get some coffee for their early morning hangovers.
As they walked toward the subway she asked, “Babe, do you know what day it is?” His confused expression quickly changed in realization.
“Oh My God! It’s your birthday!” She laughed, knowing they were both pretty spacey. The weather had improved since the day before. The rain had cleared and the sun was up, but the cold was absolutely brutal. They hadn’t dressed as warmly as they could have. She had her Chuck’s on while he wore Sperry tennis shoes. The rubber soles making them feel like they were standing on ice blocks. They both forgot gloves though he at least remembered his hat.
She craved Dunkin Donuts, wanting a coffee and an egg and cheese bagel. When they got to Columbus Circle, they sought the nearest one. Cops had cordoned off the streets making their quest very difficult. As they spotted a Dunkin Donuts, a cop shifted to block their way. “I’m sorry but you can’t go this way.” He stated, though the Cafe was a mere 50 feet behind him.
“Can we just get to Dunkin Donuts?” He asked. The cop nodded after some thought, stepping aside and watching them enter the madhouse of a Dunkin Donuts. It was filled with people in a rush to get coffee and go to the parade. He stood behind her, holding her close. “Baby?” He asked.
She laughed as he reiterated a line he’d repeated several times on their way there. After ten minutes, they got their coffees and sandwiches. Before enjoying either, he wanted to get them to where they’d stand during the parade. They went out of Dunkin, sneaking the opposite direction of the cop which led them to a spot only three people deep from the street. There was much pushing and shoving to get there but he was masterful at it from all the rock concerts he’d attended in the past. There was a man standing next to them who was mentally challenged. He held a short conversation with him while others looked at the man with ridicule. He was kind to anyone and everyone no matter the circumstance, one of the many reasons she loved him.
He and she began to eat as they waited in the freezing cold for the parade to begin. Their hangovers subsided, leaving them extremely tired as a result. He wrapped himself around her to keep her warm, again whispering in her ear, “Happy Birthday.”
It seemed like a very chilly forever before the parade finally began. Her 5 foot 4 stature wouldn’t allow her to see what was happening on the street. He tried helping her by letting her stand on his feet though it didn’t lift her much higher. The floats and balloons were raised high enough for them both to see. The experience was incredible as they saw stars such as Jimmy Fallon, Fall Out Boy, Gavin Degraw, Kristin Chenoweth, the Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande, The Duck Dynasty guys, Joan Jett, Cher Lloyd, Florida Georgia Line, and many others. When clowns would pass by, all she could see was the confetti flitting through the air towards her, occasionally ending up in her hair.
There was a small group of girls that stood in close proximity to them. They chatted loudly of their lives along with the stars they hoped to see. One of them stopped a moment catching a glance of them. “This girl has got it made. She has her man keeping her warm. I wish I had that.” She and the girl made eye contact as she smiled at her comment humbly, knowing how lucky she was to have him.
His hands were in the holes of her coat sleeves, warming her hands while his endured the cold. She attempted to return the favor and warm his but he refused. After a few hours in the bitter cold, the parade concluded with a visit from Santa. They kissed; happy they made it through the whole thing without freezing, deciding the experience was well worth it. The rest of their day still lay ahead as they turned to make their way from the crowd.