Your birthday has come and gone. Sixty-four years old now, inching ever close to senior citizenship, to the days of Medicare and Social Security benefits, to a time when more and more of your friends will have left you. So many of them are gone already-but just wait for the deluge that is coming. Much to your relief, the event passed without incident or commotion, you calmly took it in your stride, a small dinner with friends in Brooklyn, and the impossibe age you have now reached seldom entered your thoughts. February third, just one day after your mother’s birthday, who went in labour with you on the morning she turned twenty-two, nineteen days before it was supposed to happen, and when the doctor pulled you out of her drugged body with a pair of forceps, it was twenty minutes past midnight, less than half an hour after her birthday had ended. You therefore always celebrated your birthdays together, and even now, almost nine years after her death, you inevitably think about her whenever the clock turns from the second of February to the third. What an unlikely present you must have been that night sixty-four years ago: a baby boy for her birhtday, a birthday to celebrate her birth.