Spring arrived with summer looming, and the days were stretching out to match my mood in a fabulous sort of serendipity. Twice I caught myself humming, and once even pursed my lips as if to whistle merrily. Something must be terribly wrong with me, but I was too happy to care.
I turned twenty-five on March 23, a day most often remembered for the passing of the ‘Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich’, which effectively made Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany. Even this was not enough to depress me, but rather served as a reminder that every day can have its good and bad, being both connected to every other day and singular in its unique way. One person becomes dictator for life and goes on to murder millions, and another gets some pie with friends and contemplates that she has somehow made it a whole quarter of a century. When one compares the events across time, the pie, a delicious strawberry-rhubarb, becomes even more amazing.
Harriet was there, and so were my new friends Krane and Dahlia, both students of the nearby, and well respected, design school. Harriet and I were at the local university, media studies majors with myself in audio engineering, while she was more into journalism. It was a small party, but it felt right to me, and even if a few people were outstanding in their absence, I knew I would meet them soon.
At this point Harriet, being naturally curious and observant, had long figured out that when I met the others at the ‘gym’ we were not just there for spin class. So she was not at all surprised when Dahlia spread her finger wide and our table came to life with a three dimensional micro scene of farmers in the fields picking vegetables and picking fruits, complete with tiny hats and cards and mules, their story began when we sat down and ran until the pies were baked and on your table, coinciding perfectly with the actual delivery of our much larger portions. She was showing off but it was so delightful I could not help but laugh and smile as the tiny people struggled to get over forks and napkins to get their produce to the market, pulling and cursing at the stubborn mules. It was silly and unrealistic in its fetishization of the evils of agro-business, but for that day, I decided to leave my mask at the door and just enjoy it.
Harriet was particularly delighted, and seeing her face light up always made me feel better. Dahlia could have her fun, Krane could smirk and try and one-up her, and I could refrain from any party tricks as I was the one to be entertained during my own birthday. It's for the best, my Power does not lend itself to such things.
“Happy 25th Violette!” Harriet was beaming.
“Best 25th birthday I ever had!” I smiled at my own snark while no one else even notices, “But really, thank you all so much. Last year my birthday was coffee and lo mein after work.”
Krane began folding and I knew something terrible was going to happen.
“Not here,” I kicked him under the table.
“Violette, you are no fun.”
“It's a public space!”
“Semi-public, no one will notice.”
It is true that we had found a corner of the garden cafe well away from everyone, and the place was not exactly hopping on a Tuesday afternoon.
“Keep it contained...”
“For you, anything!” And he completed the final crease of air to reveal a beautiful peacock in full glorious tail spread, now standing in the middle of our table. Unlike Dahlia’s illusions, this was twenty pounds of bitd squatting and carrying on about our table, scattering the remnants of pie left and right as it struggled to find purpose in its sudden manifestation. We were drawing attention.
“Krane!” Dahlia swapped at him
“Think of it as free pie!”
The bird chased us from the cafe and we skipped out into the streets of Paris laughing at our minor act of defiance. It was hardly anything, just play acting. Harriet had already paid, and Krane knew that, and now there was one more peacock in the world. Born March 23 into a confusion of lights and sounds; just trying to make sense of it all.