On the day of my birthday, I was on mandatory leave so I had the best excuse not to give the traditional birthday blowout in the office (as if birthday leaves ever saved anyone in the office from giving a treat). A client was having a launch event that night, keeping most of us busy. A birthday celebration was clearly at the bottom of the priority list.
On the following day, typhoon Egay struck its hardest on most of Luzon. We at the office were all feeling sluggish from the cold, and most of us wanted to go home by noon. So I slept the entire lunch break and worked the rest of the time.
The only thing that kept me from getting really depressed was when I accidentally saw the birthday poster/card that they have designed for me. What happened was that I thought Angeline’s computer was left open overnight, so I moved the mouse to “awaken” the monitor. When it opened, a YM message window was open so Pao volunteered to close it. Lo and behold, the file of the birthday poster/card they designed for me was there and I saw my face right next to my dream husband, George Clooney. Surprise #1 busted!
I told Pao it’s okay since I still have to see how they are going to prepare and present it. And so, we tried to get back to work. By mid-afternoon, I was called for a brainstorming session. A few minutes into the meeting, in comes Louie with placemats and set them on the table, saying “ayusin na natin para makakain na tayo.” The guys in the meeting casually said “later na lang”, but I’m too smart for that. I played along and acted like, duh!, what was that? Surprise #2 busted! (Actually, Monina kind of broke it to me in the morning when she asked me if I prefer bihon or canton)
Later after the meeting, I went to Chela’s work area to get some scratch papers. On top of her desk was a bouquet of bright-colored flowers with my birthday poster/card beside it. (Cool job on the design, Mel and Thea). Surprise #3 busted!
It was great, guys! I felt really special as your office colleague. Truly heartwarming and unexpected. For the first time in 41 years, I didn’t know how to react. So pardon me if I looked blank the entire time. It’s just that I know most of us are tight when it comes to money matters, and for you guys to shell it out for me is too much. I love you guys. “Thank you” is never enough for something as sweet as this.