07.15: Shuffling and scampering outside my bedroom door.
07.20: A knock, and a tentative "...Hello?" from Bec. Some whispering and a little more shuffling.
07.21: Checking I'm decent I sit up. I'm not particularly worried about, you know, flashing, and I know Bec wouldn't bat a eyelid, but I am not willing to inflict that upon David first thing on a Monday morning, as I fear it will be too much for his constitution to cope with.
"Hi...! Come in!" I call, through receding layers of sleep.
Pushing the door open with her foot Bec steps into my room.
"Happy Birthday to you..." they begin, grinning at me in the glow of the candles on the chocolate cake that Bec is carefully carrying. From behind her steps David, carrying a tray upon which are two croissants, a mug of coffee, a jar of Nutella and a jar of jam. Also a promising-looking bag with a card on top of it.
We push a bit of duvet from the end of the bed David puts the tray down. I blow out the candles, remembering at the last minute to make a wish, and going against my instinct to wish with all my might for just another hour or two in bed. I perhaps wish something about singing. I always do.
I open the card. On the front is a picture of a man astride a very small pony. Underneath is the caption:
"Dave couldn't ride today. He was feeling a little horse."
This amuses me perhaps more than it should. I throw the card aside and dive for the plastic bag, which, I correctly deduce, is full of presents.
This pleases me.
In it are the following items:
One A-string for a cello.
A lovely necklace.
A lovely ring.
A small hardbacked notebook with a picture of Marylin Monroe on the cover.
A blue dress with sparkles on it.
The notebook, Bec informs me, is for song lyrics. So I don't have to have "all those scraps of paper everywhere". I do actually have loads of scraps of paper. Everywhere. No more, though. Now all my brilliantly inspired lyrics will be jotted down neatly in italic pen in my book, as opposed to on ripped bits of paper and the back of my hand.
The dress is lovely with a very, very plunging neckline. I tried it on this morning, just woken up with gravity defying hair and half-open eyes, and it looked lovely. It kind of looks a bit Grecian in style. Bec said I looked like Helen of Troy, but I looked in the mirror and saw a sleepy-looking twenty-four year old girl with messy hair, a pretty dress and lots of cleavage, which I don't think would have sent anyone into war, with or without a golden apple.
I am going to attach the A-string to my cello soon, and then tentatively see whether my fingers still remember how to play.
The necklace and ring are very beautiful, bought from Nice when Bec went there last week.
My presents are lovely and I love them with all my birthday heart. David and Bec are wonderful flatmates and I love them, also.
It is my birthday today. I am twenty-four years old.
I am somewhat tired. Exhausted. I think perhaps I have started going downhill, unable to cope with the years that have passed me by. I am a weary old woman, now. I am considering retiring.
Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration.
I am tired because I have been out every night for nearly a week. It has been so much fun.
Last night was LOADS of fun, and I want to say thank you to Tony* for inviting me to The Spitz last night to see Mr Ben Hudson**. I had such a great time, and it is worth being tired today. I had a lovely chat with the bus driver on the way home, as well as with a Brazilian man who kissed me on the cheek when I told him it had been my birthday for fifteen minutes and then invited me home with him. I declined.
At some point I will go into more detail about meeting someone who knows me only from the words I write on here. I was very nervous, and as a result probably talked way too much and told a very bad joke, but I really enjoyed myself.
Anyway. I have sung Happy Birthday to myself once already. Will you join in, please?
I am going to find some Birthday crisps to eat. They will just be normal crisps, but I will make them Birthday crisps.
Happy Birthday, everybody.