Cake and a candle
This morning the concierge’s eldest daughter knocked on the door unexpectedly with a plate of cake, three fat slices of sponge with a smooth ruby of jam in each. Just before she knocked I had been preparing a bag of no longer needed baby clothes and bottles for her littlest sister, born 2 months ago. I went to the door with bag in hand and so we made an unplanned exchange, which left me feeling sweeter and lighter. It wasn’t so much the cake (which I couldn’t eat as I had an upset stomach) but the fact that the ‘thank you’ arrived together with the gift. A cause and an effect wrapped up in the same moment of generosity. It reminds me of the words of a wise Buddhist woman who says that most people consider a smile the result of happiness while it is in fact the cause for happiness.
Shortly after the cake episode, and still feeling smiley, I went to the bakery with the baby in my arms rather than her buggy. She was also very smiley, happy to be up on our eye level, and succeeded in charming the whole shop. When we left 5 minutes later I had a loaf of bread and the baby had a big pink lipstick kiss on her elbow from the shop assistant and a birthday cake candle in the shape of a number one from a customer. He had wanted to buy her a sticky skewer of donuts but when I said she was still too young he bought her the candle instead, determined not to leave her empty handed.
Later I think about the cake and the candle we were given today and wonder whose birthday it is?
Maybe it is a reminder that any day is as good as another to celebrate, to begin afresh, to start by smiling.