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28

Author: Kay Ritchie

Curtains wrap themselves around this birthday morning. Clothes jumble the floor, yours embracing mine, while clocks remind ‘still winter time’ and I plan Sunday brunch. Our favourite transport caff. Bruised tea. Burnt beans and greasy rashers. A salt-spew sea-side walk. The book by Brassai I’ve been hinting at for weeks. But you’ve been up since dawn and making furtive plans so, when you wake me, take my hand and lead me through balloons that blurt my age, pj’d, un-washed, un-furled, I’m ill prepared for this surprise. This secret celebration. This crush of friends in party garb. Hip Hip Hooray. The champagne corks. The chocolate cake. I’d rather slip away. But you’ve made so much effort. So have they.

And so I’ll stay.