‘I don’t want to forget which day it is,’ says Bibi in a tiny voice. ‘It’s my birthday.’
I stare at her, my sun-addled brain frantically calculating the date.
‘Oh Bibi,’ I say. ‘I’m sorry.’
How could I have forgotten? It’s bad enough being stuck out here in the middle of the ocean on your birthday, but to have your own family forget is terrible. I can see from Rashida and Omar’s faces that they think so too.
‘Happy Birthday, Bibi,’ I say to her miserably.
The others do too.
Then I pull myself together. There’s not much I can give Bibi for her birthday out here, not even a glass of water, but one thing I can do is try and cheer her up.
‘Let’s plan a party for your birthday,’ I say to her. ‘We’ll have it when we get to Australia.’
‘OK,’ she says, brightening.
‘My birthday’s in four months,’ says Omar. Rashida gives him a dig with her elbow.
‘In Australia,’ I say to Bibi, ‘when it’s your birthday, the Australian government comes round to your house with a cake and fizzy drinks.’
I’m not completely sure if this is true, but with a kind and caring government it could be. Anyway, it’s the thought that counts.