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Next week is a friend's birthday.  Usually I'd call her the night before and wish her a "Happy Birthday".  Sometimes I'd take her out for dinner and we'd talk until the water was warm and the tea was cold.  I've known her since she was 15 and I was 17.  That was 22 years ago.

In high school, we hung out together, even though we went to different high schools (our schools weren't rivals).  In college, she would occasionally come up to visit and hang out for a little bit.  I've helped her move from one place to another.  When she moved to California, sometimes I arranged side trips to visit her when I went out to the west coast.  When her father died, I didn't go to his funeral, but I went to his apartment to keep her company while she sat Shiva for him.  Frequently, she called me her "older brother" (all of her siblings were female), that was a title I was honored to be offered.

Last year, I was busy with wedding preparations and I forgot to call her for her birthday, but that was okay because I was looking forward to seeing her at the wedding.  A month before the wedding, I hadn't yet received an RSVP, so I planned to call her tomorrow or the next day to offer belated birthday wishes.  But then I received a call from a friend saying that she had died unexpectedly.

Now it's nearly a year later and instead of looking forward to giving her a call, I'm writing this message and feeling sad that I can't call her now or next year.

I miss her.

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