Bernard was sad. He just got an extra number added to his age. It was a zero, which meant that he was now ten. It also meant that his mother died exactly three years in the past. She died when he turned seven. Bernard was not crying at the moment.
His father, William Clever, understood that Bernard didn´t want a birthday-party. He understood that Bernard wanted to be left alone with his little sister Mary, without any presents or cake. And so, father William had taken a walk to the bar, where he was always sitting on this day of May the fourth, with a bottle and shot-glass in front of him. And just as he was looking at the rain, from that bar-stool, thinking of the great woman that once was his wife, Mary and Bernard were also looking at the rain, from the window of Bernard´s room, in between all his model boats and airplanes. He was sitting close to his sister, who was two years younger than him, but old enough to remember Henrietta, her mother, which she lost at age five on Bernard´s seventh birthday.
With their hands around their shoulders, pressing their shoulders together, and a cup of tea in front of them, they sat in silence, listening to the rain, grieving. Bernard was looking at two drops on the window, that seemed to be racing each other. He pointed at the drops and said to Mary: ´I think the drop on the right is faster. ´
´I…´ she started but her voice chocked up and she could not speak anymore. Bernard looked at her and saw that just like the drops of rain, two tears were also falling down Mary´s face, one on each cheek, and when she looked back at him, with a frown over his eyes he said to her that her tears fell faster than the drops of rain on the window. She started laughing and crying very hard, and she fell to ground crying and laughing, and then Bernard laughed too, and tears appeared in his eyes. He sat on the ground with her, and they laughed and cried a good ten seconds, before Mary found her voice back and said: ´Happy birthday Bernard!´
´I wish I had a happy birthday. I know mammy is looking at us from heaven, wishing I had a happy birthday. I don´t want her to be sad about me being sad about my birthday. I don´t think you´re supposed to be sad on your birthday. I hope that she doesn´t feel bad about dying on my birthday. It wasn´t her fault she was struck by lightning. It was… it was the rain that made the lightning. It was the rain´s fault! ´
´Maybe that´s why it always rains on this day,´ Mary said.
´I hate the rain.´
Mary got up from the floor. The drops on the window that were racing each other downwards earlier were gone but a new race of raindrops was going on. Four drops were rolling down the window, and as Mary was drying the tears off her face, she pointed to one of those drops, saying: ´THIS ONE! YES! This one is going to win!´
´How do you know?´ Bernard asked.
´I just do OK! ´
´I think you´re wrong,´ Bernard said, looking at the raindrops, and he pointed to the one that was racing Mary´s drop neck to neck, and he said: ´That one is going to win!´
Mary put her hands on her hips, looked at Bernard with a very serious face and said: ´If my drop wins, and yours loses, will you promise me to have a happy birthday for once?´
´I don´t want to be happy,´ Bernard said.
´Maybe YOU don´t want to be happy, but I do and I bet that mam, looking at us from heaven, also wants you to have a happy birthday. So, do it for mam then, or for me. I hate to see you so sad. It´s like you blame your birthday for losing mam!´
´Yeah… I know,´ Bernard said softly, looking at the window. ´but that doesn´t change that your drop is loosing the race.´
´If my drop wins, do you promise to have a happy birthday?´ Mary said, intensely looking at the raindrops that were racing each other down the window. Hers was a little behind Bernard´s drop but seemed to be catching up with it fast.
´I promise,´ Bernard said, and just when he said that, lightning struck far away, and when they heard the rumble, five seconds later, Mary´s drop had reached the windowpane, winning the race.
´Let´s go outside,´ she said.
´Fine,´ Bernard said. ´But let’s never come back. ´
´Never ever? ´
´Never ever. ´
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