In the middle of the work day, my phone rang. A highly unusual circumstance that caused my heart to skip a beat. I cautiously answered it. “Hello?”

Maga cleared her throat.

“Hi, Maga!”

“How did you know it was me?”

“I have your phone number in my phone, so your name appears when you call.”


Before I could ask if everything was okay, she continued, “I just called to say Happy Birthday, [Sister E]!”


“Oh, umm, I’m not [Sister E]. And her birthday was exactly one month ago.”


“What? You’re not [Sister E]?”

“No. This is Abby.”

“When was your birthday?”

“January 8.”

“I’m a bit late, aren’t I?”

“There’s no expiration date on birthday wishes. I’ll accept them at any time.”

“But today is your birthday, right?”

“No, I’m afraid it’s not.” (I’ve never felt so guilty for telling the truth!)

“Are you at home?”

“No, I’m at work.”

“You’re [Sister E], right?”

“No, this is still Abby.”

“How did I end up talking to you?”

“You called me.”

There was some fumbling and I could hear Maga and her caregiver M talking. As Maga rattled off my phone number, M pointed out my name by it. I agreed that she had my phone number there, but it was not computing that the number she had was mine and not [Sister E]’s.

I’m sure it also didn’t help matters that [Sister E] and I sound very similar on the phone.

I confirmed [Sister E]’s phone number, confirmed her birthday was 1/28, confirmed I’d be seeing Maga for her birthday in a month, and for the hell of it, confirmed my dad’s birthday was yesterday. Birthday wishes for everyone! Cake too!


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