I always had a fairly functional family. We were never too close, but we always did what families do - stick together. On birthdays and holidays, my mother would make sure we had lunch at my grandparents' place. It always looked similar - my grandfather would cook, which was one of the few things that made him happy, Sandro and I would eat too much before laying on the couch, watching Eurosport, and eventually falling asleep. It was nothing spectacular, but it was our tradition.
Yesterday, my grandfather turned 77. As always, my mother announced it to us on WhatsApp, and mentioned that it would be nice to call him. I wished him a happy birthday, talked a bit about my life and said a few jokes on my expense to break the awkward feeling. Years of separation did their thing. We had nothing much to say to each other.
After four years of living abroad, you inevitably forget people and people forget you, no matter how close you once were. In your group of friends, your name gets mentioned only sporadically, just as some distant memory. You get five birthday messages, two being from your mobile provider and some random photography page you subscribed to. And no matter how hard you try and think you have managed to accept it - it always hurts. For a short bit, you think about how nice it would be to return home, before reality strikes and reminds you why you chose this path. You shrug it off and continue with your life. Until the next birthday.
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