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Today is the birthday of a childhood friend of mine. Our birthdays were always so close together we were thought of by our parents as “Birthday twins”, and often planned our parties closely together, like maybe a fun weekend event.

Today, my friend is 22, the same age I will be in September very soon, and he’s spending his birthday in Iraq, since he’s serving in the military. When I thought about that, it made me want to cry.

Little realizations at that are compelling me to come to terms with how banal and cruel life can be. All I really want for my birthday now is for my friend to come home next year, safe and sound in mind and body, and ready to celebrate his and my 23rd birthday in peace and happiness.