He woke up with a start, and then relaxed when he realized that he was safe at home. He smiled to himself when he realized what day it was. He would have to hurry, though – he didn’t have a lot of time and they would be home soon.
He rolled out of bed and brushed his teeth, donning a clean white T-shirt and putting on his apron while he went down the stairs, two at a time. He busied himself in the kitchen, pulling ingredients out of different shelves. This was something that he knew his wife loved about him – his ability and willingness to help with anything and everything. It came from his time in the army, he believed. He simply could not see someone doing something without offering to help.
He hummed to himself as he greased the pan and turned the oven on to preheat. Orestes, their puppy, ran into the kitchen and nuzzled up against his leg. He laughed and bent over, careful to keep his hands away from the dog. He kissed the pup on the top of his head and rubbed his nose against his ears. Ori always loved it when he did that, and this time was no different. He lay down on his back, practically begging for a belly rub. How do you say no to that? So he started rubbing the dog’s belly with his foot, still working with his hands.
He melted the butter in the pan, and stirred in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. This was the good vanilla that he had gotten from the farmer’s market, and only came out on special occasions. They didn’t have a lot of money, but food was one thing that they never skimped on. There are few ways to tell someone that you love them better than a table laden with hot food.
He slid them out of the oven just as he heard the door open. He smiled. Just in time.
They were his favourite.
He left them in kitchen and walked out into the living room, where Annie and Kyle were waiting for him. The love of his life and his little boy. His entire universe revolved around them.
He picked Kyle up and kissed Annie.
“You know what day it is today, buddy?”
“And you know what that means, right?”
He laughed, and kissed the little boy on the cheek. “Of course. Now go get washed up”.
He put his arm around Annie. “Hey there, beautiful. You ready for dinner?” She smiled, and kissed him again. Long and deep, this time.
“Dinner, and more”, she said, winking at him.
They sat down at the table, and he handed out the brownies. Each one had a candle, and they sang together.
“Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you…..”
He blew out his candle, and took a small bite of the brownie. He looked up at the picture on the mantelpiece.
“Happy birthday, Pop.”