The house seemed dark when he reached home that night. He was late due to a lengthy meeting and a massive traffic jam on his way back. He missed his wife. It was nearly 2100h and he was in need of a serious time in the shower.
A sudden blinding flas of light greeted him when he turned the lock and opened the door.
"S u r p r i s e!!" everybody yelled. A cake with 25 candles was shoved in front of him as the crowd sang 'Happy birthday' right till the end. He blinked, dumbfounded, loss for words.
A moment of silent and then, "Blow the candles already!" that was his youngest sister, loud, as usual. He regained his composure, blew the candles and everybody was cheering. Fod goodness' sake, he's too old for this, he thought. He scanned the crowd and saw that all of his family members were there, and quite a number of people from work, his closest friends and some neighbours that he knew were there too.
In a matter of seconds, somebody cut the cake and offered a slice around. On his dining table there were armloads of food, more that he knew they could possibly finish, and music was playing gently in the background. His house did not look like his own. When did this happen? The planning, the preparation.. Whoa.
He went to Lydia, his sister in law, and whispered "Where is she?" her smile died at that.
Lydia looked uncomfortable. "We've talked about this," she warned, and he took a deep breath. After a lengthy silence, he nodded, raised his head and saw her. She was walking towards him with the biggest grin ever. He threw one last glance at Lydia and grinned back at is wife.
"Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you," she whispered in his ear and kissed his cheek gently. He felt her press something into his palm, so he grasp at it and kept it in his pants pocket.
"Thank you, my love. Is this your plan?" he queried, taking her hand and poured a drink for her. She took the glass gracefully, while shaking her head.
After taking a sip of the purplish drink, his favourite colour, she responded simply. "Your mom," Her head was inclined towards a general direction, so he turned to look. True enough, his mom was making her way to him. Libby excused herself, the moment his mother reached him.
"Thanks ma," he said, accepting a kiss form his mother. "Libby said it's your idea,"
A melancholic smile appeared on her suddenly tired-looking face. "Happy birthday, my dear," she said gently. He noticed the tears that was forming in her eyes, and almost panicked. He's not a fan of tears, women tears, and most especially his own mother's.
"Just remember that we all love you, son," his mother said simply, lookind deep into his eyes. He smiled.
"I love you too, ma,"
to be continued...