No one was there to hear him on that cool spring day. School had ended more than an hour ago and all the learners had headed off to community service time. It was one in the afternoon, and Mr. Paddle wondered what he should do with his day. Birthdays bothered him. They didn’t always. Once upon a time he made a point of doing something fun – and usually by himself – every year, but these last two years had changed that. Mr. Paddle had had plenty of friends once upon a time, but these days he didn’t do much but teach his classes, sit at this or that café, and read poetry – which he only became interested in over the last two years. Mr. Paddle took part in a few other activities: some he enjoyed, while others were just things he did. He wasn’t sad. He was just trying to make sense of, and get comfortable with where he was.