The knife dance as performed by Reza The Styx

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"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you", we sang to a rendition of the Iranian version of the song. I looked on as we also made our way through the Iranian version of events, nearly forgetting that it actually was my birthday and the glowing face we all looked on at was celebrating four days late. "Who's this one from?", shouted the helper as they sat before the recipient; perfume, a fancy shirt and ornamental modernist candles revealed themselves with kisses and hugs returned in kind. Group photos were arranged before the cake was cut and distributed. "Happy birthday", I wished the host as she smiled back with thanks; I restrained from mentioning it was actually mine.

Following the relief of finishing my weekly Farsi class I was picked up by a friend, "happy fucking birthday man!", he reminded me before suggesting a plan to fill out the otherwise unplanned afternoon. "Let go find some chicks", he prompted to which a place sprung to mind with embarrassing ease. "Those girls are checking us out", he said under his breath to which I later look to my 3 O'Clock as instructed. Two of them later left the cafe; "that's a sign man", I was informed, to which he also up and left, leaving me to contemplate if being freshly thirty really was too old for this type of thing. Both the girls and my friend returned and the text messaging began. "Dude! she says, 'I like your friend', I'm gonna give your number; tell her it's your birthday". A text message arrived for me; "Happy birthday", I read out to my friend. Reluctantly I played along and called the number as suggested; "they'll meet us outside in a few minutes", I summarised as we settle-up and left. Conscious of the legal and religious obstacles we quickly greet them to rearrange a rendezvous. "We're out celebrating our friend's birthday", says the one who likes me, to which I inform her it's mine on this day too. "Oh no, hers was the other day", she corrects me as we discretely slip off for safety. "OK, it was a pleasure meeting with you", my friend interjects in response to the girls' suggested plan, "we've got a birthday party to go to", he adds, and thus I guess it goes.

"Happy birthday Daveed", my friends greeted me as they arrived one-by-one to my house to celebrate the dying moments of my twenties. "It's not my birthday" I remind them, repeating the dying hours of the twenties part, "my birthday is tomorrow", I remind them as I'm handed various paper bags with gifts within.

Dance away a decade of decadence. Dance dammit, dance

'Dance away the dying moments of his twenties. Dance away a decade of decadence. Dance dammit, dance', it was written on the amusing invites made by a friend. I felt slightly safer having these printed and distributed knowing that he'd forgotten to add a time and date for the event.

"Daveed, why are you not dancing?", exclaimed a friend, interrupting my playing host. "Can it go louder?", "put on the Iranian music" and "when's the salsa coming on?", they came as I struggled with my make-shift set-up. "When will we do the cake", they came, "when will we do the presents", they came as I jumped between various music genres and failed to pleased.

"Who's this one from", shouted my helper as he sat before the me. The eyes glared on as I was worried they would: I'd needed to maintain a consistent level of surprise and gratitude. Books, traditional bowl, books, traditional shirt and more books revealed themselves before I gave my gratitude speech in two languages.

"Who's going to do the cake dance", shouted a guest as the traditional beats fired up while I sat before the 'Happy Birthday David' cake. My house mate then pulled off some traditional shuffles with a knife being delicately dangled before me. Tradition has it that I'm to be denied the knife three times as it's danced before me; I got two traditional shuffles before the slicing and distributing began.

"Happy birthday", they wished the host as he smiled back with thanks; the host restrained from mentioning it wasn't actually his birthday.

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