23 candles

I turned 23 on the very last day of September.

My friends threw me a semi-surprise birthday party a couple of days later. It was a semi-surprise because I knew a few things: There would be a party. Ten close friends. It would be on Friday night. At least part of the time we would be outside. And we needed cars.

Beyond that I was completely in the dark - sometimes literally.

Around 8pm we piled into a couple of cars and started driving. I think we were on the road for over an hour but nobody cared because we spent the whole time singing our hearts out to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack and laughing hysterically.

Then I was blindfolded. The cars stopped. And we all got out and started walking. For a while. But we got to where we were going.

And I got dressed (or, more accurately, was dressed) for the party.

They finally took the blindfold off and we were standing in front of the Atlantic Ocean. It was so beautiful. And cold. And perfect.

Midnight beach luau? in October? Illegally? My friends know me so well.

We built a campfire on the beach, sacrificing my skirt to get it going ...
(when I say "we" built the fire, I mean that the boys tried .... and then I did it)

ate Hawiian stir-fry and Vanilla cupcakes with Funfetti frosting - 23 candles in one cupcake is a lot.

We made leis from multi-colored toilet paper ...

and tied on our best hippie head scarves before dancing around the fire as part of a spontaneous fertility ceremony. Undoubtedly effective.

Then it was girls down one end of the beach. Boys down the other.

And we ran screaming naked into the ocean.

I went twice.

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