(continued from October is the best month - part 2)
Further into October, my birthday a few days behind me now, I was spending the weekend with my family. Well, just my dad and brother - my mum had flown to the Philippines to visit grandma a week and a bit before since grandma wasn't feeling all too good then. It's been almost a year since granddad died and everyone's a bit worried for grandma, so away my mum went to check-up on her side of the family.
So it was just my dad and brother left in the family house in the suburbs, and my mum and I always joke about leaving the house in their care. Sure they can take care of themselves, but they're not the most proactively responsible members of the family when it comes to chores and general maintenance: meals are always eaten later because they start cooking when they get hungry, the washing/laundry never seems to be done as well when it gets done at all, and the fridge/freezer/pantry always runs dangerously close to being empty. I also doubt that they vacuum the house, or even clean the bathrooms in my mum's absence.
In the times I've visited when my mum's away, the house has never really been that bad, but there's always something missing about the way the house is held together when it's just my dad and brother, like the shiny veneer put in place by my mum's cleaning schedule is dulled without her care and that cracks start to show when the house is no longer receiving the same level of care. I jump to a worst-case scenario in my head, in that after an extended absence, my mum would come home to a broken home: the front door not closing properly, a large puddle of water not cleaned-up from a recent heavy rain, a corner of the rumpus room perpetually on fire, a family of wild animals making a nest in one of the rooms, and shit all over the place with the words 'there is no toilet paper' scribbled on the walls with faecal matter...
During this latest visit, I got the following text message from an unknown number:
Happy cake day. Look in your letterbox
Intrigued by the anonymous sender and their message, I went outside to the letterbox, and inside was a cake! It was in the shape of a meatloaf, but it was a cake! (some kind of lemon cake I would later discover) I sent my thanks back to the unknown number, and as I did, all sorts of questions came to mind:
- Who sent the cake?
- Who knew I was in the suburbs that weekend so as to deliver it to my parents' house?
- Who knows where I live?
- Is the cake poisoned?
A lot of my long-time friends would actually know the answer to question 3 - I had lived in that house with my family for almost 15 years before I moved out - and anybody with access to the internet knows the answer to question 2 since I publicized my location on Twitter the previous day. Suddenly the suspect pool got a bit too large for me to investigate, and thankfully the cake was not poisoned, otherwise I would have gone through my list of suspects much more earnestly.
So my birthday extended to the weekend that followed it with the mystery cake, and when my mum came back from the Philippines several weeks later she brought back a bunch of presents for me from a few of my cousins as well. We even had a belated family birthday dinner at the place we dubbed 'the new Maria Pia's' (Maria Pia's was the Italian restaurant I kept going to for my birthday, and the restaurant that had taken its place is also Italian).
Birthday day became birthday week, and birthday week became birthday month :) I was really liking where this month was going.
(to be continued...)