LET US EAT CAKE
NEW YORK En route to work, I stop to see travel writer Marie Javins and my 87-year-old grandmother.
Work happens to be in southern Africa this week. Ms Javins lurks around New York City like most sensible American authors. Grammy lives in Connecticut, in the Sopranoland's heart of darkness...
"Why don't we buy a cake?" Marie suggests at Grand Central Station. Fresh off a redeye flight (the first of three, Seattle-Cape Town), I stare blankly. Sweets are not really my style. Especially so early in the morning.
Several hours later, the shoe drops. Oh yeah, she meant birthday cake. As in my birthday. Today.
Aunt Jane says a prayer for my jetlag on the Miracle Hotline. The results aren't immediate, but it's the thought that counts, right?
And so I celebrate my birthday in Bristol, bleary, but happy. Every painting, every porcelain figurine, every strip of wallpaper here is intimately familiar: a static tableau, a still life stretching back decades. Only the players have evolved on this stage.
As tradition dictates, I fold the mirror wings around my face in the downstairs bathroom. My pug-nosed profile echoes into eternity.
"Thirty-one," I announce, testing myself.
I study my smile lines.
No It-girl panic attack. No tightening of the mortal coil.
Just a slight hankering for more ravioli and a nap.