Birthday in the time of Corona
Birthday in the time of Corona
In last one hour Suzi had blown and tied up 20 balloons. 10 more and they would be enough for the decorations. Oven alarm rang. She went up to check if the cake was ready. It was perfectly baked. Chocolate cake, just what Hazel wanted. It was already 5 pm. In an hour Daniel would be back. She would wake up Hazel in sometime. It was Hazel's birthday that day and whole family was pretty excited. Because of lockdown, they had not called anybody and were not doing the party outside. Rather it was to be a small, intimate affair this time. Hazel, being only six, was initially insistent on getting her friends. But after some convincing she understood.
Just then the phone rang.
She checked the screen to see it was Daniel. She held the half blown balloon in one hand and took the call in other.
"Hello... When are you back? You know how excited Hazel is? With so much difficulty I made her sleep. Cake has also turned up well.
As she kept talking, Daniel interrupted.
" Suzi, listen."
"I have been diagnosed with corona. Just now the reports came. Three of us have got it."
The half blown balloon slipped out of her hand and flew in air in random direction.
She was not believing what she heard. Daniel being a doctor and treating corona patients day in day out, it was always a possibility. But you never think bad things will happen to you. So when it happens, it's shocking. She controlled herself and sat on chair.
"Listen. Don't worry about me. I am asymptomatic and most probably I will be fine in seven days time. I can't come home for seven days. We are being taken to quarantine ward, where will will stay for a week. I am sad that I won't be able to come for Hazel's birthday celebration. Don't know how she will react. You need to manage this."
Hazel was still processing what she heard. She just muttered a small hmm.
"Listen. I need to go now. You guys take care. I will call later."
And the phone cuts.
She blew rest of the balloons and decorated the room as they had planned.
She woke up Hazel at seven pm, just before birthday time. Unlike other days when she took long time to wake up, this time Hazel woke up in an instant. She ran to the hall to see the decoration. Looking at the beautiful setting, she started dancing with joy.
"Where is my cake mama?"
Suzi smiled and said "It's in the fridge dear."
Hazel jumped and said "Yay."
As she jumped again, she realised there was no papa there. She asked, " Where is papa? He hasn't come till now?"
Suzi took Hazel to the sofa, sat there, putting her in her lap. Time had come for which she was preparing for last one hour. Taking one deep breath, she started, "Dear, papa had called. He got corona and won't be able to come to home for seven days."
After a small break, she started again," So two of us will celebrate your birthday. Papa will have to stay there for seven days until he is cured." She was expecting Hezel to burst out crying anytime.
Hezel got down from her lap, looked at her mother with those cute little eyes and said, "It's ok mama. We will call him when we celebrate our birthday."
Suzi had tears in her eyes and a big smile on face. Small girl had grown up after all!
Half an hour later, after Hazel got ready, they got the cake from fridge, video called Daniel, and cut the cake together.
It was a nice,intimate, albeit different, but surely memorable birthday, of course with a little assistance of technology.