Last Saturday, the idea was that, before going to a party where Jack the Wizard would be playing, we had to stop by Yu’s housewarming party in the bar above the local Chinese place. I was encouraged to dress up well. “But what’s the point?”, I whined, “Jack the Wizard’s parties are an informal affair. And we are not staying that long at this housewarming thing, are we?”

While we were walking there Jod sounded curiously interested in what I was telling her about R. Zelazny’s Lord of Light, which I was in the process of finishing. She was also very interested in my views on how people in the ’60s thought 2000 would be (lots of flying, lots of space travel, no electronics). She was glancing around at the cars, like she was looking for something. I almost noticed but paid no attention because we have been counting Hondas and Toyotas on the road recently. We reached the bar, I opened the door.

Something was wrong. NewYorker’s boyfriend was there. NewYorker, too. One of the Seven, too. Ok, Yu, too. But what were all these people doing at Yu’s party?

When people started congratulating me I realised I had been dragged into a surprise party for me. I spent the next 45 minutes looking gobsmacked — mouth agape and all. I had not understood a single thing and the conspiracy had been going for three weeks, coordinated from Jod’s laptop, under my very regal nose. Most of my friends here were there: One of the Seven, NewYorker, pH, St, Great Westphalian, Amir-am-M, CWB, FT, Yu, Genjihualpa and his wife, Philo and Francesca, as well as the Floating Islander and the Boss. Dancer was excused.

I was delighted: after the last two not very happy birthday parties, it was good to feel among people who were there to share my success with me and wish me well. I felt less lonely and stranded on Saturday. Needless to say, we never made it to Jack the Wizard’s party.

8 thoughts on “Surprise

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