Wake up to Babe bringing me a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie. It’s my first self-isolated birthday, and hopefully the only one. Babe smiles. I don’t tell Babe I stopped eating pork three months ago. It seems rude and ungrateful.
I say a silent prayer for the pig that was sacrificed for my birthday and wish for a non-self-isolated Tofu sarnie next year.
Special and Rhubarb leap onto the bed and I wince. After many many years telling them not to jump on my groin, they still somehow manage to land on my particulars every time. It’s almost as if they don’t care. When I tell them that if they keep doing that they won’t be able to have any more baby brothers or sisters Rhubarb jumps up and down again. And again. And again. Stamping up and down might be a more accurate description.
I open my presents and cards from everyone except from Granddad. He texts to me to apologise but my present is delayed and won’t arrive for another month. Apparently people are panic buying weight training resistance bands.
Reply: Don’t worry, I am not sure I am well-trained enough to use one anyway. I may need a new eye. Can you send that instead?
He replies with a rolling eyes emoji.
Rhubarb’s card is a delight. It has a rainbow on the front and “my hero” in big letters. I say thank you and kiss her.
“What for daddy?”
“Oh. That’s for mummy. Sorry. I’ll make you one another day.”
Send Special to Arturio’s house, further down the street, with a slice of lemon drizzle birthday cake. She follows the instructions: knock on the door as loud as you can, put the cake on the doorstep, back away twelve miles.
He opens the door.
“Hello my lovely, how are you?”
“I’m well thanks. My mum made some birthday cake for my dad and he wants you to have a slice.”
“That’s nice. Is it corona free?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell him he’s old, and ask him if there is any for my wife and our two hungry children.”
She nods and runs back to our house.
Send Special back with more cake, for the wife and hungry children.
She returns with a note from Arturio: “Happy birthday. Next time send eggs, milk, pasta, loo roll and money. Lots of money. And a Winnebago XXX”
I ignore the kisses. I know he’s just trying to flatter me. There is no way he’s going to get loo roll. Sandpaper perhaps. But not loo roll.