Birthday Cake Hole

17th Mar 2006

And it was a happy birthday cake hole too.

For six months of the year "L" is two years my senior and she doesn't really like it. It reminds her that she's getting old, she says.

Hah... she thinks she's old! Self-awareness is a curse sometimes.

I tell her, "you're only a couple of years older than me, and I feel young. And you remember what they say about being as young as the man you feel?"

To make her special day special I took the day off work to set up some surprises for her.

The morning started as usual with us both rising soon after our next door neighbour. (Everyone knows when Davie leaves for work. It's not his profession as a taxi driver that alerts us to his morning wakening either; no, it's his mongrel dog who kindly barks at the neighbourhood... in fact the mutt noises off at anything that moves... like a leaf blowing along the pavement halfway down the street or a bowel etc.). I waved her off to work without any indication of my plans for the day. Hee hee.

First job was to acquire all the birthday ingredients: flowers, flour, money etc. Call me unimaginative if you like but as a practical kind of guy, I appreciate practical gifts (and after twelve years together "L" thinks like this too). So, what's more practical than money? Aside from that, what do you get a woman who has everything? She was talking about a facial and some other beauty treatments of which I knew little, so I'll let her choose.

Having cycled to the shops in the West End and discovered that the supermarket was shut for three days for refurbishments I had to cycle home with just the flowers and then cycle back out to another supermarket to get the cake stuff.

I baked the birthday cake first to make sure the smell dispersed by the time she arrived home in the afternoon. And following tradition I handmade her a birthday card. This was a very simple affair in comparison with previous years where I used to spend hours painting, collaging, printing or sculpting some sort of birthday tome. This year it was a Photoshop collage printed out and torn into shape. Simple but effective. And also a vital ingredient in the forthcoming birthday present hunt.

I was making her favourite meal, Penne Five Cheeses. Rich as hell: Mozarella, Mascarpone, Ricotta, Gorgonzola and Parmesan.

Two bottles of wine chilling in the fridge.

As she usually arrives home in the evenings before me I locked the front door, both to make her think I was out and to alert me to her arrival. HOWEVER, much earlier than I imagined I heard someone trying a key in the door. I jumped up from the computer and closed all the doors in the hallway.

"L" entered the hall and spotted the note I'd left stuck to the living room door. It read:

You are forbidden to enter the living room unless you say the secret words.

Hint: Sophies World [the book she was reading at the time]

I had my shoulder up against the door in case she tried to get in.

"Are you in?", she beckoned curiously.

Jeez, what an idiot, I thought shaking my head and grimacing.

Doh! She tried the door but I held it firm. The note plainly states she can't come in unless she says the secret words...

"I know the secret words", she disclosed. "Sophies World. Can I get in now?"

I still hadn't spoken and surprisingly, even after trying the door (which admittedly could be stiff), she still wasn't certain if I was in or not! She tried the door again. This time it budged and my presence was finally detected. I informed her that Sophies World were not the secret words but merely a hint if she didn't know what the secret words were. So, putting on her Miss Marple hat, she zoomed upstairs to the bedroom and found the book.

Inside the book was her Birthday card... and another note with further mysterious words to decipher. While she was Agatha, I positioned her lillies and roses outside the living room door to confront her when she came back downstairs. I heard her creaking about upstairs, occasionally laughing and generally making excited noises.

The second note simply read:

Cheesy space.

So she went directly to the shoes cupboard where she found an envelope with some cash and another note.

If I were to tell you I love you what would be your response?

I know, I know... what a soppy git. So as she rushed downstairs to impart what she already knew, she was stunned to find the beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for her.

"Aw, they're lovely," she declared.

I kept quiet. She proceeded to try the door again and I almost just let her in without the magic words but decided to keep my foot and shoulder in place.

"And the magic words are?"

"I love you!", she bellowed.

"Ok, that'll do", I conceded. "In you come.

She saw the table set for a romantic meal for two. She was under the impression that we were going out for a slap-up meal, so I sensed she was slightly disappointed to find we were eating in. I quickly poured her a large glass of wine to dispel any negativity.

real life