Arturo felt awful. His head was pounding and his mouth dry. He woke briefly when Chana woke. She left the room quietly and he laid back and fell back asleep.
When he woke again, he was slightly better. Although walking outside was the extent of his energy. He collapsed in the chair. But the sun felt good. He stared at the swirls on his hands. That wasn’t a good sign. He hoped he wouldn’t have to go to the hospital.
Chana was humming as she tended her garden. He watched her weed and water. She hadn’t noticed him yet. When she did she smiled and came over.
“Have some yogurt at least” she urged. She sat down next to him and dug into her own breakfast of fish.
Arturo picked at the yogurt. Really, he just wasn’t hungry. He forced himself to eat a bite. “How’s the garden coming?”
“Well, well. The blackberries have never looked so good. They seemed to like the fish fertilizer.”
“No more. I’d rather not know.”
Chana laughed. Then she looked at him, her eyes serious. “I called Bella last night. I was worried. Why didn’t you say you weren’t feeling well? What possessed you to go to work?”
“What did she say? Do I have to go to the hospital?”
“She say’s it’s probably 24 hour llama flu. Apparently it was going around the club Ashley had it last week, remember. Bella said if you rest today and the swirls leave you should be fine by the weekend.”
“That’s good. What about you? Will you get sick?”
“I’ll be careful. Bella said not to worry about her either, she’s immunized.”
“Oh, I didn’t think of that. I’m glad she’s okay.”
Chana sighed. “Take it easy, today. And if you feel worse, tell me.”
Chana’s advice proved easy to follow as already Arturo was feeling tired. He dozed outside as Chana headed into town to sell the blackberries and pears she’d gathered. By that evening he was already feeling better although he still called work and told them he was sick and wouldn’t be coming. He hated loosing that money, but Chana had convinced him. Better take it easy and he was sure to get better faster. He didn’t want to worry her any more than he had.
Chana called Bella.
“How is he?” She asked.
“Much better, I think. He took the day off and slept most of the day.”
“And the swirls?”
“Gone. How about you? Any good news for us?”
“Stephanie and Kristie.”
“Ooh, congratulations! How are you feeling?”
“Like I’m not carrying around two beach balls anymore.” Bella laughed.
“I can’t wait to meet them.”
“Well you’ll see them this weekend.”
“Thank you again. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
“I can imagine. Don’t worry, I’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need. Just bring Arturo and we’ll have everything else ready.”
Saturday came all too soon for Arturo, and couldn’t come faster for Chana. Arturo knew Chana was up to something, but he didn’t pry after she made it clear that it was important to her for him not to know. They took the ferry into town.
“Oh, we’re going to Bella’s!” Arturo recognized the path they took. Chana smiled.
“Since we’re in town anyway, I thought we’d see the girls first.”
Arturo took her hand and squeezed it. “Thanks,” He’d been trying to figure out when it would be appropriate to visit. How many days did you give someone to recover after birth?
Chana just smiled as they knocked on the door. She pushed him through first when they heard the invitation.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” Arturo blinked. Bella’s living room was filled with people, from work and the club. So this was the surprise, he hadn’t realized Chana knew when his birthday was.
“Silly,” Chana gave him a quick kiss and disappeared into the kitchen after Bella. Arturo took the drink given him and found himself the recipient of multiple congratulations.
Between the festivities, Chana and Arturo did find time to sneak upstairs and meet the new babies.
Arturo blew out his candles without a fuss and spun up to adult.
“You’ll have to tell me when your birthday is now.”
“Oh?” Chana grinned. “Do I?” She teased.
“Of course. It’s only fair.”
“It’s next week.”
“Did you like your birthday party?”
“Yes,” They were walking back to the ferry. The moon hung large in the sky. “I’m not really ready to go home though,” he said. “Want to grab a drink.”
The Old Bar was open late and it was still early. Arturo and Chana grabbed drinks.
“Thank you for the surprise.” Arturo said with a grin as they saluted.
“I’m glad it all worked out.” Chana agreed.
They played a game of fuzzball. Chana won.
“I am so lucky to have you, Chana,” Arturo leaned in close to whisper in her ear.
“The feeling is mutual, you know.” She grinned back.
They tried out the closet that night.
“Happy Birthday, Artruo.”