Friday, October 19, 2007

My birthweek

By maternal decree, this is my birthweek; not because the poor woman was in labour for that long but because the very great woman loves her daughters to distraction and thinks one birth day is not enough to celebrate their (traumatic) ejection from her womb and into her arms.
Yesterday was my birthday and I recorded some nice things from that day:

I made tea for Amir and myself and took it into his bedroom, sitting on the floor with my back against his bed. As we woke up slowly sipping the hot black, vaguely filmy, liquid, we talked about some things - how this new girl Lucy he met at a wedding is 35 and has only ever studied and travelled; he is hopeful as she sent him a flirtatious message on facebook. I talked about Paul who gave me my first birthday card and took me out to dinner and is so different from me and doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Ma called and Bee and Charlie sent messages, so did Maira and Paul and I have several messages on facebook from people I have not spoken to for ages, and emails from Waleed and Carl and Atef and Ben and Doug. I saw a cat sitting on a high wall and I stopped to miaow at it and it look annoyed and turned back to stare at the tree above it; I too looked at the tree and back at the cat and back at the tree but could see nothing of interest; again I searched hard amongst the autumn leaves and this time I saw a tiny squirrel cowering on one of the far branches. I said good bye to the cat and walked down Victoria Road, passing the Lebanese grocers, Gebel az Zaytoon; I waved through the window and it was not the handsome shop assistant I know, but another which is not important. On the tube to Piccadilly Circus a young girl behind a hand mirror applied powder roughly over and over to her face, then she used a teaspoon to curl her lashes and with harsh brushstrokes added blusher, and a cheap mascara; when she packed up her mirror I saw how fresh she looked. I sat in the sunshine in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts at the foot of the giant bronze sculpture of the three-legged Buddha. Bee came late looking tired, pushing her pram hurriedly - I shouted "Bee!" happily and jumped up to hug her; her baby, Hettie or 'the boodle' was screaming; she lifted her out and I made faces and the boodle opened her eyes wide at her strange auntie. In the Members' Cafe, I queued to get a flapjack while Bee fed boodle. Behind me two old men wondered aloud what a marble cake was; I said, a marble cake is made with two pastes - a cocoa and vanilla paste swirled together to resemble marble - I know that because it was my favourite cake when I was younger. The men look at me mesmerised and smiling and thanked me and one of them said, can I buy you a piece and I said no there was no need, and that was kind of them, and they continued to joke and flirt with me. When it was my turn, I asked for the biggest piece of flapjack they had, and a woman behind me laughed and said she loved my forthrightness and I said well, I would hate it if they gave me just a small crumbled piece. Bee and the boodle and I walked round the gallery looking at Georg Baselitz's upside down, fractured paintings and the boodle tightly held against her mother's chest in the 'carry-me' pooed loudly in front of her favourite scratchy, swirly painting. We walked through St James' park and then Hyde park and I approached large geese with trepidation while Bee pushed the boodle round in circles to ensure she kept asleep in her swaddling. I put Bee and the boodle in a taxi home and I wandered down Queensway and along Westbourne Grove and found nothing to buy in Oxfam and, tired, took the 31 bus home.


Persephone said...

Elly - happy birthday, my sweet! Sana helwa!

Your writing is wonderful and reminds me of Miranda July.


Anonymous said...

A week later,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! El 3omor killou ya helwa!