OK, it wasn't as bad as the first. It was even better than the second, which wasn't celebrated at all, since animals don't get birthday parties.
It began with my Father getting his photographic equipment out. He set up a tripod in the middle of the living room, and a dining chair was set in front of it.
I was placed in the chair. He had to focus the camera. He measured the light and did his calculations to set the exposure time just right. He had to hang a sheet up to block sunlight from the window.
Then the big moment came. My Mother handed me an oblong object and my Father said, from behind the camera, "Here it is! Here's the ball!" I was excited! I looked around for the ball. I didn't see it, but I was sure it was there somewhere. I was happy, and there was a flash, as my Father got this picture.
After the picture was taken I said, naturally, "Where ball? What ball?"
My Father said, "It's in your hand, silly"
How is a football a ball to a 3-year-old who has never even seen a football game?
I've often wondered how bad it would have been if we were a normal family, and my parents hadn't tried to kill me on my first birthday, and I hadn't only just recently begun to bond with my Father again.
The way things were, it just symbolized everything that was wrong. I had a Father who couldn't see me unless he was imagining me being him. If I couldn't be identical to him, I was disposable. My Father was a football fan. I must be a football fan.
Even before I started crying, my Mother said, "I told you he wanted a round ball." I burst out in tears, and my Father said, "It's a ball! What's wrong with him that he can't see it's a ball!" "It's not a ball," she said. "It's a football." "A football is a ball!"
It took several minutes for my Father to calm down. Mother talked him into promising to get a real ball soon. I was talked down out of my sobbing, as I gradually was convinced that the next time wouldn't be just like this one, and the next "ball" wouldn't be shaped like a donkey, or the Eiffel Tower, or a stupid coat hanger.
Another present was brought out. I got a "kelepona", a telephone. It was a toy telephone with a spinning dial, just like the new one that my parents had recently got, replacing the old wall model.
Below are four photos. In all but the one on the lower left I was Kona. My Mother said something mean about me just before that shot was taken, and Alaka'i came out, protecting Kona from hearing the insult. You can see anger that Kona wouldn't have had. My Mother said to my Father, "See? See what I've been telling you? Look at him. You can see he's different! I told you the freak's got a split personality!"
My father told her she was crazy. "There are no such things as split personalities."