I heard the sirens this morning. They cut across my consciousness as I sat at the computer at 8.15 after coming in from the field. “What’s that?” I thought. Then dismissed them.
When I picked up Alex from work (a summer job sorting newspapers for distribution), Alex said casually. “Auntie Lia reminded me that it’s What’s-his-name’s birthday today…”
“Whose?” I asked, my mind half on the road and half on the lunch that I’d left Sophia responsible for removing from the oven.
Ooops. This is the second time in sixteen years of marriage that I’ve forgotten my husband’s birthday. Lucky he doesn’t put a big store on things like that…
Alex called him at once: “Mum has something to tell you!”
Best Beloved could scarcely talk for laughter. “I’ve been peeing myself each time you called this morning” (I’ve spoken to him twice about inconsequential things) “and wondering if someone was going to tell you…”
And the sirens? They sound every year on July 15, to commemorate the 1974 coup when Makarios was toppled by right-wingers who favoured union with Greece. It started the chain of events and diplomatic collusion (the American records of which still remain sealed) that lead to the Turkish invasion shortly after.
“I woke up on my eleventh birthday to the sound of gunfire and explosions,” Best Beloved told me shortly after we met. “Celebrating never seemed too important after that.”
But I must remember a cake for when he comes back tomorrow.