My sister will be here with me for my birthday on Friday. She will arrive tomorrow, so I will be struggling under the weight of her company already by the time Friday comes around.
We will drink too much champagne, talk too loudly, gesture too wildly, eat too much junk food.
On Friday evening, we will get dressed up like we never do, put on make up, and heels, and we will go out for cocktails and a fabulous dinner, swishing about like a couple of 6’2 polar opposite twins, she with her dark bob, me with my longer blonde locks. We will get at least one person exclaiming how alike we look, an observation at which we will scoff because it’s so untrue, and we will make faces at each other because it always happens, so we both know it has a grain of truth despite our scepticism.
And the day after my birthday we will be worse for wear, tired and a little sorry in the morning chill. Her daughter will arrive with my Dad and the three generations, my entire family in this country, will put on our celebration faces and there will be some presents and lunch somewhere with a view, and probably more champagne.
And I will be exhausted by the time they leave the day after that. Five days of company, I will be working hard to be civil, and they will see it and they will know. They are used to me by now.
And despite the fact that I will be itching for them to leave, I will truly be grateful for them, and I know that they will forgive me my lack of grace. They are good and fine people who love me: my sister will have flown in from Fiji, my niece will have flown down from up north, and my dad will have driven more than an hour to spend this time with me.
I’m very lucky.