As I’m writing this post, I still remember that moment when I sat alone in front of my beachfront villa in Krabi, feeling the gentle touch of a cool ocean breeze on my face. I looked up at the night sky and saw the crescent moon steadily growing, surrounded by sparkling stars in the night sky—which are rare to find in my own city.
The sky was beautiful that night.
Sitting there, I can smell the fresh air with the scent of wet leaves. I took a sip of my pineapple frappe and treated myself to a delicious coconut cake that was prepared by the villa for my birthday. On the balcony desk, my phone rested there and I couldn’t help but keep checking it, hoping to see a message from the person I considered my best friend—the one friend who lives two hours ahead of me—yet I call him my closest friend.
The atmosphere was calm and peaceful, yet a hint of sadness crept into my heart.
I kept checking my phone while enjoying the soothing sound of the ocean waves. In that moment, I whispered to myself:
“I got exactly what I wished for on my birthday this year—a private location with stunning views, tranquility, the soothing sound of the ocean, delicious food, and a mouthwatering birthday cake. Everything here was perfect.”
Then, I continued checking my phone once more.
I was wearing a sleeveless white nightgown, and as the night grew colder, I gave up checking my phone and decided it was time to put it away. With that, I made my way to bed, feeling disheartened.
Before drifting off, I took a moment to reflect on everything that had happened throughout the day, on my birthday.
As soon as June 23rd struck midnight, I received a text from a dear friend, Naz:
Wishing you many wonderful memories to be made at this age. It is time to forget the past and celebrate a new start. You do so much for others. You deserve it as much as anyone, and more than most in your life. May God bless you with good health and everything in your life!! InsyaAllah, aminnnn…”
We have been friends for 5 years now, and he never misses a year, and his thoughtfulness always touches my heart.
The next morning, as I woke up, messages from family and friends kept pouring in.
“Happy Birthday, Hani!”
I can’t stop myself from smiling. It’s a simple phrase, but it holds a deeper meaning for me, especially when it comes from someone who holds importance in my life. It reminds me that I am important in their lives as well.
It makes me happy.
Since 2019, I’ve been cautious about letting people into my life. Those who have witnessed the impact of what some people did to me in the past on my mental health, understand my guarded nature and never question why I am this way now—why I choose to be alone. In the past four years, only two people have managed to develop a genuine connection with me—the people that I actually like and trust—and both happened to live far away. Perhaps, in some ways, this distance is for the better.
It’s rare for me to truly connect with someone and want to keep them in my life. With my loving and caring nature, I constantly make sure these people know how much they mean to me. I never forget to support them and acknowledge and celebrate their special moments, no matter how far away they may be. I truly believe that even the smallest gestures can have a big impact, and a simple word can mean the world to someone. I never underestimate the power of these actions.
But, at the same time, I expect to be recognized and cherished in the same way, or at least, a similar way. I deserve that too.
So, when my closest friend—the person I talk to every day—didn’t even say ‘Happy birthday,’ I was deeply hurt. It still hurts as I write this. It made me question where I stand in this person’s life. It’s just a simple phrase that takes less than five seconds to text. It’s truly disappointing when someone who you shared so much about you don’t even acknowledge or wish you a happy birthday. It may seem small, but it means a lot to me. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but still, it doesn’t change the fact that my feelings are valid. I went to sleep feeling sad thinking about it.
But anyway, the day has passed and he also has his reason. Despite my disappointment, I’m grateful for the amazing people who remember and take the time to send me a birthday wish, even those who only found out about it on that day. They remind me of the love and support that still exist in my life.
I was also pleasantly surprised when the staff at the villa went the extra mile and brought a beautifully decorated cake with a lit candle on it for my birthday. All I had mentioned was that I wanted a cake for dessert because it was my birthday, but I never expected them to put in such effort. Their thoughtfulness made my stay for my birthday retreat truly memorable.
Until then. X, Hani.