Amilcar explains about birthdays.
|Amilcar’s Birthday Party
Being a hermit, Amilcar did not concern himself too much with official forms and documents. His mind was on other things and he was seldom caught up in the more mundane matters that beset the rest of us. When bureaucracy insisted on documentary evidence of some quantifiable aspect of his identity, he was always able to produce an important-looking piece of paper that satisfied the requirements of officialdom.
The accuracy of such documents that he kept about his person was a matter of no concern to the little hermit. They had been passed on to him by various persons in his past and he had accepted them without question or interest. All that mattered was that they answered the questions presented to him whenever he found it necessary to deal with the powers that be.
Thus it was that Amilcar was able to travel from one country to another with ease, drifting through Customs and Immigration Counters like a brief breeze that wafted through the corridors of power for a moment and then was gone. Being a hermit, he had no possessions to speak of and could claim nothing to declare. Since there were no suitcases or holdalls to inspect, customs officers had no option but to wave him through. And his passport was already so full of stamps and visas that no immigration officials dared to go against the opinions of so many others. They waved him through with barely a glance.
Even when asked the reason for his visit, Amilcar was able to present the enquirer with his certificate from The Most Worshipful Order of Hermits and Sundry Ascetics, to prove that he was there on business. None of the officials had any idea of what the business of hermits involved, but they were afraid to ask because they might be thought ignorant.
So it was that Amilcar was well prepared when his fellow hermit, Mendel Kurtzman, asked how old he was. The truth was that Amilcar had no idea of his actual age, but without hesitation, he dug around in his robe for a while before producing an ancient and tattered document and handing it to Mendel.
“Birth certificate,” he said.
Mendel carefully unfolded the fragile piece of paper and read the message it contained. It was certainly a birth certificate but nowhere did it mention the name Amilcar.
“This appears to be the birth certificate of someone named Harvey Worthington,” he said.
Amilcar was unfazed. “That is exactly what it is. No doubt my parents named me that at the time they registered my birth.”
Mendel looked back at the hermit, his eyes wide open in astonishment. “No doubt? Do you mean that you don’t know?”
“I was too young at the time to take note of the proceedings,” answered Amilcar. “It seems a reasonable assumption, given that the document was probably handed down to me by my parents.”
There was a long pause as Mendel tried to understand what it must be like to live in Amilcar’s world. He did not think he could bear such uncertainty in his own life.
“So when did your name change to Amilcar?”
“Oh, that was The Most Worshipful Order of Hermits and Sundry Ascetics,” explained Amilcar. “When you sign up to become an official hermit, they give you a new name. I was named in honour of Hannibal of Carthage. They gave me the name of his brother.”
There was a pause and then he added, “Only I don’t think whoever wrote the certificate can spell. He left out the aitch.”
“And you never complained?”
Amilcar shook his head. “Oh no, that would be against the hermit’s code. All things are good gifts in the greater scheme of existence.”
Mendel was silent then and Amilcar went back to his search for enlightenment. “Aum,” he said, several times. He did not know the meaning of the word but had read somewhere that it helped.
His friend, however, was clearly pondering on the matter of Amilcar’s birth and name, for he suddenly burst out, “So you really don’t know for certain when your birthday is or how old you are?”
Amilcar opened his eyes and smiled. “That is true, my friend. But I have a piece of paper that satisfies any questions that are asked. It has proved quite sufficient unto all eventualities thus far.”
“But, but..” spluttered Mendel, “How can you celebrate your birthday then? Have you never had a birthday party? Good grief, Amilcar, do you realise what you’re missing out on?”
“Ah, I’m glad you asked me that.” Amilcar released himself from the lotus position and relaxed before continuing. “You see, Mendel, every day is my birthday. Each morning I awake and it’s a new day with fresh possibilities and people to meet and sights to see. I am reborn every day with the dawn and my celebration and worship is the enjoyment of the new life given to me.
“My name is purely for the use of others and it matters not to me what they decide to call me. I know who I am already, you see.
"As for parties, I have a surprise one every day in whatever befalls. Today, for instance, I have had the ideal birthday party in that my good friend, Mendel has come to visit me and share his wisdom. What greater gift can I expect than that? Every day is my perfect birthday party.”
At the very edges of his mind, Mendel began to have an inkling, a faint understanding of the freedom his friend was describing. He sighed aloud and said, “Happy birthday, Amilcar.”
Word count: 935
For The WDC Birthday Blog Relay, Day Six
Prompt: The Ideal Birthday Party