Weeks had gone by and we still had yet to find a lead as to where Barney may have disappeared to. He wasn't writing at all in his blog and we tried to get in touch with several of the women he knew, even though we know that Barney never sleeps with the same woman more than once, with the exception of Robin and Nora of course. Not even his mom, dad, or brother knew where he was. Your Uncle Barney really went through a lot of trouble in order to keep us from finding him, or so we thought at the time.
I walked into my apartment one afternoon after work to find that the window nearest the fire escape that led up to the roof was open. Robin had moved into Barney's apartment, since he had gone through the process of turning it over to her, but she still spent time at my place as well. I knew that Robin would be up on the roof smoking, which she only did when she was having a particularly rough day. After setting all of my things down, except for a grocery bag, I slowly walked up there in order to speak with her and when I found her, I saw that she been crying earlier.
As she held her latest cigarette in her hand and turned when she heard me walk up behind her, she said, "You know that yesterday was Barney's birthday, don't you?"
I nodded as I answered, "Yeah, I remembered."
"We should have been out celebrating with him, but instead, he's out there all alone doing, God knows what," Robin replied as I set my bag down on the table I had set up earlier that morning. "Why do I always have to choose the easy way?"
"You don't always choose the easy way, Robin?" I responded. "You've made a lot of tough decisions."
Robin shook her head and scoffed as she replied, "Yeah, but not when it involves my relationships."
I disagreed with her again as I said, "Not true. You chose to go out with me, even though you believed it was a bad idea. And you chose to be with Barney before too, even though you knew that was an even worse idea."
"Yeah, and look how that turned out," Robin responded angrily.
"It brought you to this moment," I answered. "It made you realize Barney is who you want to spend the rest of your life with."
Robin looked at me with a confused face and asked, "What are you talking about?"
I replied, "You have been crying every night since he's left. I'm not blind or deaf. You've never gotten over him, even when you were with Kevin. Why do you think it was so easy for you to give into your feelings for him that night the two of you slept together, while you were with Kevin?"
"If that's true, then why did I choose Kevin instead?" Robin cried angrily.
"Because you were scared," I responded. "You always get scared when you become too close with someone. Just think about this; you and Barney are so alike in so many ways. By the time we find him, you need to have figured out for yourself exactly what it is you want and tell him the truth. I think you'll be happy with your answer. And so will we."
"Ted's right," Lily said as she and Marshall came walking up behind them. "None of us remembered Barney's birthday until today. You would think we would since he's all we've been thinking about these last few weeks."
Marshall replied, "We brought cake with thirty candles on it. We're still not exactly sure how old Barney really is. I can't believe he's never told us."
Robin answered, "Oh, he's thirty-seven."
I turned to her and asked, "How do you know that?"
"Because, sometimes Barney talks in his sleep," Robin responded. "You'd be surprised by what else I know. Although, I still haven't learned what it is he really does at his job, or did."
"I don't think we'll ever know that secret," Lily said. "What do you say we cut into this cake and get our party started a little early?"
Everyone laughed as Marshall began to cut the cake and I pulled out a couple bottles of champagne, some plastic cups, as well as some sparkling cider for Lily. I poured the drinks and then I raised my glass for a toast.
"To Barney, the craziest guy we know and yet one of the best friend's any of us will ever have," I said.
"To Barney!" We all shouted together after we had all raised our glasses.
Three days later, Goliath National Bank finally laid the foundation for my new building. My new project supervisor was standing there beside me and I hated the man, even though he seemed to be a decent guy. I was just angry that it wasn't Barney there as it should have been. However, a part of me wondered if maybe he was in the crowd that had gathered around somewhere. I hoped that he was.
However, I received a heartbreaking phone call later that evening that told me he couldn't possibly have been there after all. It was the kind of phone call that no one wants to receive when it was about someone they cared about. Once I hung up with whoever it was, who gave me the bad news, I dialed up Marshall's and Lily's number to tell them what I had just learned. Then, I slowly dialed Robin's number and waited for her to pick up so that I could relay the message to her as well.
When she finally picked up out of breath after the fifth ring, she quickly spoke up first as she said, "Sorry about that, Ted; I was in the shower. I almost didn't catch you in time. What's going on?"
I slowly and sadly answered, "I need you to meet me, Marshall, and Lily at the Metropolitan Hospital Center right away. I'm afraid that I just received a call from one of their nurses, telling me that Barney's there."
"Are you telling me that Barney's come back home only to end up in the hospital before he could see us?" Robin asked angrily. "What…?"
"Actually, according to the nurse I've just spoken with, Barney's been there for several weeks now," I replied solemnly. "I don't think he ever left New York."