By Micaela Blitz
Lucy opens her eyes and sees two cheeky smiles standing over here. One holding a glass of juice and one with a bowl.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear mummy, happy birthday to you….woooo yyyyyaaaayyy!”
They were not the most tuneful at this time in the morning, but their enthusiasm more than made up for it, so she couldn’t complain.
“Thank you boys. What a lovely start to the day…” Lucy sits up in bed.
“We made you some toast, but Joshua dropped it on the floor, so we just have orange juice and some strawberries. Hope that’s ok” Jacob hands her the juice.
“It’s the best breakfast ever because you both made it for me!”
“See, Jacob, she likes it anyway, so no need to tell tales on me…” Joshua whispers to his brother.
“But you were the one who dropped the toast…” Jacob retorts
“Yeah, well it was hot, you would have done the same”, Joshua turns to Lucy. “Mum, tell him to stop picking on me”.
“Well tell him to not be such a baby…” Jacob says to Lucy and sticks out his tongue at Joshua.
“Come on boys; there is no need to argue, I am really happy you both worked together to make breakfast and make my birthday special…thank you so much”
She gives them both a kiss.
“Better go get ready for swimming. Adam’s mummy will be here soon…”
They leave the room, continuing their argument as they go. The beautiful moment was gone, back to the usual squabbling… ‘happy birthday to me…’ Lucy sighs to herself.
Daniel had decided that the boys should go swimming this morning, as she was going out with her mother, and he had said he some errands to do. So much for a nice relaxing family day. He had wished her a fleeting happy birthday as he left, and had not even said what time he would be back, but she was getting used to his erratic behaviour. Working late, leaving early, making calls in the study with the door closed. She was still a little suspicious of him since her wobble the other week when he went AWOL with out his phone. He had finally come home just after she spoke to Julia, with some lovely flowers and an explanation that she had no reason not to believe…except that she sort of didn’t. She wasn’t really accusing him of anything, because she didn’t really have anything to accuse him of, but there was something niggling away at her, like a scratch she could not itch.
She pushes the thought to the back of her mind. If she was going to turn 40, she may as well do it with a smile, and worry about that tomorrow. Her phone beeps, signalling a text:
“Happy birthday darling. I’ll see you at the salon at 12. See you later, MUM xxx”
She finishes brushing her teeth and can hear Daniel come in the front door and throw his keys on the shelf. He shouts up to her.
“Lucy, sweetheart. Are you ok? Cup of tea?”
“Yes, thanks. Down in a minute”
“I’d give it 10. The kitchen looks like a bombsite…thanks boys!”
Lucy laughs to herself, and thinks that maybe she should stop being suspicious and just chillax like Josh would say.
She enters the kitchen to see Daniel dancing around singing into a wooden spoon, as cleans up burnt toast and empty cartons. “Happy birthday to ya, happy birthday to ya, happy birthdaaaaayy…”
“You are crazy” Lucy laughs.
In the nail salon, her mother chatters away to her, whilst their nails are filed, buffed and painted a lovely shade of pink.
“I can’t believe my little girl, is 40. I remember when you were a tiny baby”.
She turns to the woman working away on her nail. “She was such a beautiful baby, so happy, so quiet….”
“…What happened huh??” Lucy smiles at her mum
Her mother laughs, and gives her a kiss.
“Love you my Lucy Lou”
“Mummy you look be-yooo-ti-ful” Joshua says as Lucy comes down the stairs. Daniel looks up and smiles at her with a wide grin.
“Thank you my darling”
She had to admit that she did think she looked pretty good. The woman had done her make up so nicely, she wished she could come round to her house everyday to make her look this good. Daniel had told her to wear something sparkly for the evening, and was pleased that the dress she had chosen actually fitted and felt comfortable. Obviously all that dieting had paid off, but for tonight she was going to forget about the diet, about the housework, and about all that silly suspiciousness. Tonight she was just going to have fun, with her husband.
Daniel opens the passenger door of the car for her. ‘I could get used to this ‘celebrity’ treatment’, she thinks to herself.
“Aren’t you going the wrong way? The restaurant is back that way…”
“What? Oh yes, well I just have to pop in somewhere for work on the way, that’s ok isn’t it? It’s only round the corner, so won’t take long.”
“OK, I suppose so… it’s always something for work at the moment”. She sighs. If only he could just stop thinking about work for one night, she thinks, but does not say out loud. She doesn’t want to start an argument tonight.
Her phone beeps with a birthday message from Julia. She had wondered why she had not heard from her all day. Her phone had been beeping non-stop with messages from friends and family. It sometimes took a birthday to remind you how many people love and care for you….
As they make their way up the driveway, Daniel turns to her.
“Would you mind coming in with me? It won’t be too long.”
“Really? Ok, if you insist, but I can’t walk very quickly in these shoes…”
“Ok, you look stunning by the way….”
As they approach the hall, the whole room is in darkness.
“Are you sure it is open?” Lucy asks. “It looks pretty closed to me”
“Yes, they said to just go round the side. This way….”
Daniel opens the door into the darkness, and shouts hello. The lights suddenly go on, and Lucy sees a room full of familiar faces beaming at her shouting “SURPRISE!!”
She stands with her mouth open, overwhelmed. She looks around the room and can see old friends, new friends, family. The whole room is full of her nearest and dearest, all there to celebrate her special day. She tries to hold back the tears, and squeezes Daniel’s hand.
“How did you manage to do all this?” She whispers as party poppers go off all around her. “I can’t believe you did this all for me…” She says out loud to the room. “Wow”
“Well, I had a little help from my partners in crime, Julia, and your mother” He calls out to the room. “Sadie? Julia? Come over here….” Everyone claps and cheers. Her mother and Julia come over and hug her beaming at her, pleased with their sneakiness.
Her mother whispers to her
“I didn’t want to lie to you, but I was so worried if I spoke to you, I would give it all away, that I had to avoid talking to you. I’m sorry darling….”
“Got ya” Julia says “see you thought you were going to get away with a quiet night in a restaurant?
“How long have you all been working on this?” Lucy asks Julia
“It all makes sense now… All those late nights at work by Daniel, and my own mother hardly wanting to talk to me. … I was beginning to have all sorts of wild thoughts, but I never, ever, thought of this. Maybe I should be worried that my mother, my friends and even my husband are such good liars”.
“It was all for a good cause” Julia says “Sometimes what you don’t know, doesn’t always hurt you”.