Words are Gifts

Birthdays These Days

We chose to take a local walk on Wednesday, last week. Mattie and I experienced an interesting scene.

On the pavement, not too far from my house, on our broad road, more like a boulevard, stood the birthday boy who had donned an all white outfit, a boubou and trousers, as we do on important occasions, in these parts. He was posing on the pavement with what seemed to be a young professional photographer, taking numerous shots of different poses. The photographer, rose and fell, seemed to duck and dive still taking shots of the posing birthday boy, all dressed up, like a father. That made us smile, he looked twenty years older than his eleven year old self. I am sure you are wondering how I know that.

I call the photographer professional because in his hand was a huge Nikon machine with more loose parts in a bag hanging across him. His body language and movements gave him away. He looked like he had been doing this job for a very long time.

The boy with coiffed hair neatly trimmed completed with shaved edges, held two huge silver ‘ones’. He looked proud and wore an unyielding smile that would not twitch. As we walked briskly past, in our put together sporting gear and oversized trainers, I started singing, “Happy birthday to you,” loudly. Mattie joined in. Suddenly, a lady emerged from the car across the wide road. Our voices must have drifted although our masks swallowed up half the volume. The photographer paused, we had interrupted his rhythm. He looked up upon hearing the sound and almost stumbled on the pavement. That break cut right into his theatrics.

Across the road, masked up in a very colourful face mask was a lady peeking over the open door and through the top of her large ‘four by four ‘vehicle. She had heard our shrill voices so waved at us, as thank yous would not have been heard or smiles seen. 

Covid 19 has impacted us all, this is what life has become, in some parts of the world, birthday celebrations for children which are normally vibrant and noisy occasions have turned into forced lone events that can be shared by sending solo photographs to friends and family.

Of course, the birthday boy had on his Sunday best for the downcast occasion. Mum I am sure had to pull a trick out of her bag to appease him, as none of his friends would or could be invited.

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2 responses to “Birthdays These Days”

  1. It’s one of those weird things about this situation, don’t you think? That we are separated but can be pulled together to sing happy birthday to others like this! Loved all the detail in your slice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I especially love this line: “The photographer, rose and fell, seemed to duck and dive”–your piece has such nice contrast between stillness and movement, noise and quiet, connection and separateness. I enjoyed reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

I am am Elementary school teacher at an International IB School in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. I write with groups of writers, such as Teach Write.


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