Sweet embarrassment

My friend does not celebrate let alone acknowledge her birthday. So when we had dinner last night, it was under the pretext of: because that's what friends do anyway—meet and eat and catch up on each other's lives.

Come dessert time, I told her I'd check out the restaurant's pastry shelf. I did and picked a cake, then asked the staff if they had a candle. 'See, it's my friend's birthday,' I so very casually said.

Because that was all I wanted: A slice of cake with a little candle on top and me saying Happy birthday! with a smile to my cynical friend. —A cheesy gesture, but one to be executed with some degree of privacy.

But the restaurant's owner (whom I know personally) and two of the waiters came carrying the precious confection and started singing as they walked closer to our table.

I was looking at my friend's face and clearly she was embarrassed. As was I, for a mawkish moment involving me was playing out in public.

The lesson here is: Be very clear with instructions, cake and song is a package deal. Also, doing something special for someone that matters is a pleasure.

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