Happy Birthday Part Two

The waiters came wheeling a trolly. We sang happy birthday in unison to ‘Giovanna’.
Joanne blew out the candle, and the older guy cut the cake. It was lemon cake, very succulent. We took our slice and they went off, wheeling the cake back to the kitchen, ‘for breakfast’.
They brought a couple of limoncellas on the house, we all said ‘salute’.
‘Have some cake’ we invited.
‘Si, si,’ they said, ‘graci.’
I felt like the spoilt French princess, Marie Antoinette, who, (when informed that the people had no bread, and were starving), said ‘let them eat cake’.
I turned to Joanne, ‘I always feel bloody uncomfortable when other people serve me.’
Joanne didn’t get this at all. ‘Why?’
‘Not sure,’ but I had an inkling that it was guilt. Back in the 1970’s, my father was forced out on strike. My mother became the breadwinner, supporting the family by working as a waitress at a lively downtown hotel.  My mother loved working, she felt liberated, while my father, on the other hand, felt emasculated by her sudden independence.
I laid the memory aside, turning to Joanne, ‘my grandfather was a socialist,’ I said, as if that explained the feeling.
The Patron’s daughter glanced over now and then. She had a shock of black, curly hair, framing a Renaissance style face.  I suppose we seemed odd in her eyes, two women quietly celebrating together. Everything seemed out of sync with reality. I felt like I was in a dream.

Marie Antoinette Paper Doll

Marie Antoinette Paper Doll (Photo credit: Totally Severe)


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