[Birthday Party, 667 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
They had flown Fionn in from the Republic of Ireland to Australia. Fionn was quite irate about the situation, but having his flights paid for and the fact that it was his Australian friend’s birthday. Well, he had to go, didn’t he? There was always a question in that for Fionn. Did Fionn truly owe his friend Edward anything? That was yet to be accounted for and if accounted for, it was not accounted very well.
Fionn’s friend was turning thirty. Quite a monumental occasion, if there ever was one. When a man turns thirty… When a man turns thirty. Yes, well when a man turns thirty he is meant to have made something of himself. Become some figure of repute or receive recognition for his chosen course of life. It is true that when a man reaches thirty the most difficult of objectives is still set before him. But the hardest yard of growing into a man has become complete, and with that complete cycle something is achieved. He did not know what had been achieved. But still, something had to have been achieved. These were the thoughts that entered Fionn’s head, his perspective filled with thought as the plane flew some thirty odd hours from Ireland to Australia. Fionn was sure of it. Every man becomes something and accounting for Edward’s character when he had met him. He may have become… something.
Fionn arrived in Australia. He had been offered to spend the night with Edward’s family, but he refused. Instead, he chose the recourse of a hotel. After all, Edward had already paid for his flights and he didn’t want to impose in any way greater than necessary.
The day had arrived. It was Edward’s thirtieth birthday. Fionn took another taxi to Edward’s home and entered the door. The door swung open and he eyed it suspiciously. What in gracious behaviour did this account for? Other guests, he suspected.
Inside; the song, ‘happy birthday’, a children’s limerick being played on repeat. It was odd. However, Fionn could not account for the Australian taste and so he continued to follow the music. With each step closer to the source. The source that was playing a children’s song. With each step up a case of stairs, he drew closer to the peak of the stairs, closer to the source of the music.
Then there it was. Edward. Sitting alone at a table. He sat behind the table and there was another empty seat opposite him. “So,” Fionn questioned, “Just us then?”
Fionn brought up the seat. He sat down in the seat opposite Edward. “I thought there would be… others?”
“Just us.” Edward spoke in a solemn tone.
“I see and what will we be doing?”
“We will be eating a cake.”
“I see. What kind of cake?”
“A chocolate cake.”
“Can I just leave now.”
“No, you cannot.”
“I would like to leave.” Fionn stated.
“Not until I blow out the candle on the cake.” Edward stated clearly. He brought up the cake from beside his seat. It was one of those cheap cakes that you bought from the supermarket. A chocolate mud cake. “Scrumpcious.” Edward licked his lips, looking at the cake. He placed the candle in the cake and lit it.
“And after you blow it out, I can leave?”
“You can leave after I blow out the candle.” Edward leant over the cake and blew out the candle. Then stated, “Okay, you can leave now.”
Fionn got up out of his seat, exited the house and paid a taxi to take him back to the hotel. From there he packed up his things, took another taxi to the airport and bought the first plane ticket back to Ireland.
As the plane took off, as the plane soared through the sky he thought about it. He relaxed the tension in his shoulders, stopped gripping the sides of his seat in his wasted anger and thought, ‘It wasn’t so bad, was it.’