The breath I took with my hand on the doorknob could never be deep enough.
I ignored the "Go Away" and "Knock First" signs, and stepped in, at first thinking that I would flick the lights on, but then deciding that the pastel rainbow thrown off by the line of lava lamps was kind of nice. Blog was lying in bed listening to headphones and facing away from the door.
"You didn't knock," Blog said.
"I know," I said. I went over and sat on the edge of the bed. Blog shifted further over and showed me more of its back.
"I'm sorry," I said.
"I could tell you what was going on, but you know what's going on. There's no excuse."
I'm not sure how, but the silence got worse. Longer. Silenter.
"I forgot your birthday," I said. The words themselves somehow hung in the air, making the whole thing real.
Blog turned, still looking upset, but finally looking at me.
"I didn't get you anything. I completely forgot."
"Yeah," Blog nodded.
"You know why, right?" I asked.
"Yeah," Blog said. "It's not like it's a bad reason. I felt bad for caring."
"No no no," I said. "No, I still should have remembered. You're four now! FOUR. I mean we've been doing this for a tenth of my life. A TENTH of my life."
Blog couldn't help but smile a little at that. I saw a tiny glimmer of the hopes and dreams flashed through that smile, and all the impish demands for unreasonable accolades over the years.
I put my hand next to Blog, still not sure if contact was okay. "It's going to be a tough year."
"I know," Blog said.
"We might not hit too many milestones," I said. "We got like 1600 because of that First Sentences thing for some reason, but that was the first real post I wrote in like two months that wasn't just a personal update."
"We hit the goal that matters, Chris," Blog said.
"We did?" I racked my brain. Two million page views? 60,000 in a single month? Five thousand in a day? What was it?
"You never quit," Blog said. "Sixteen hours a day in the hospital, and I still had a post up just about every damned day. You think I don't know what that was costing you?"
I laughed. Not a real laugh. More one of those sharp sighs of disbelief. "You're way too wise for four. You understand this, right?"
"Eh, I still think I'm going to be a famous blog some day," Blog said. "How wise can I be?"
"You know..." I said, and my voice cracked. I pressed it down and took a deep breath and pressed it down again. "There's a chance..."
"I know," Blog said.
"...and I don't think there's any way I could keep writing through that."
"I know," Blog said.
"At least for a while," I finished. "At least on you. Maybe emo poems or...." I stopped because I couldn't press it down any more.
"Burn that bridge when we come to it," Blog said. "In the meantime, come ON. Have you met Sonic Gal? She makes other fighters look like pacifists. If she has to reach into her own chest to pull that lymphoma out, I'm pretty sure she will."
"As long as she can punch her way through the problem somehow," I laughed.
"Right?" Blog said.
As the laughter died, the silence shifted inexorably towards awkward.
"So...uh....I ordered a cake," I said. "Do you want some totally late birthday cake?"
Blog turned and looked at me. Stared really. For a long moment.
"Who do you think you're even talking to? Fuck yes, I want cake!"
"Come on into the kitchen," I said. "I don't want you getting crumbs in the bed."
"Also let's do the 2 million thing before I reach half a decade. That's really not so much to ask! Use guilt trips for page views. You could play the cancer card on your readers. We can totally do this...."
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