by Maggie Scout

You can’t remake the world
Without remaking yourself.
Each new era begins within. ~ Ben Okri

Sally and Alice had colluded in the birthday surprise, inviting Golly Gosh regulars on behalf of the shopping girls who now waited, giggly and excited and a little nervous; their friend’s special birthday.  A birthday that, ten years ago, they were afraid to believe was possible.

They squealed with delight when they saw the cake and hugged Alice in gratitude; the red ballet shoes reflecting their friend’s personality to perfection.  They knew she had never regretted her decision all those years ago but also knew that the sadness and loss leading to that decision would never dampen her love of dance.

Where is she?

Sally stood at the window watching.

She’s coming …and Noah is with her!

Today, the dancer thought she was simply meeting her friends for some tea and cake.  In fact, she was.

Noah followed her through the door as everyone jumped up in unison. Happy Birthday!  Renditions of happy birthday to you rang out from voices with happy smiling faces, their tears mixed in with laughter and jubilation; party poppers and champagne corks; flowers and presents and fragrances that reminded her of Jerusalem; and beautiful ballet shoes taking centre stage.

Surprise and disbelief overcame her and she stood, still, like a beautiful statue with eyes glistening and tears welling up.

I don’t know what to say.  I’m speechless.  This is such a surprise … I had no idea!   You’re all so kind and I wish you knew how much you mean to me.  This place, this wee place, Sally, Alice, everyone else, you’ve been there for me and I couldn’t have done it without you.  You’re like my family.

So much for you being speechless!

Have a glass of bubbly, birthday girl!  What about you Noah, what would you like?

Can I have an orange juice please Sally?

Is this yours?

It’s my new kite.  Auntie Jan promised to take me to the beach to fly it before dinner.   She said we’re going to chase the wind.

That’s exciting!  Better make sure she doesn’t have too much champagne then!