January 23, 2015

Birthdays are supposed to be happy, aren’t they?

You’re supposed to be celebrating and punching the air and eating a cake that’s bigger than your head, surrounding by a group of smiling people who may or may not be your friends. At least, that’s the way it looked in the commercials. She’d seen 16 Candles – that was how it was supposed to work, wasn’t it?

Platinum, Molly Ringwald had said.

Platinum, she repeated out loud to her mirror-self.

Thirteen was a big one, too. Some sort of milestone. Milestone of what, she wasn’t sure. She still couldn’t vote. Couldn’t drive. Couldn’t drink, legally anyway. What could she do? Not a whole hell of a lot.

She looked in the mirror and tried for a smile. Not even her fake mirror-self looked happy. Fighting a grimace, she unnecessarily reapplied the lip gloss. Like her mouth needed to get any shinier. She didn’t look happy – she looked scared.

She was alone for the moment, painting on concealer, scraping on eyeshadow like armor.

They would be here soon.

Her mother had gone to pick some of them up. Some would be arriving of their own volition.

The Relatives.

That was how she always thought of them, with the capital letter. Imagined them rushing up the driveway, like an oncoming horde. Large women, with too-bright dresses, too much lipstick, hair like fluffy unnaturally-colored clouds resting on their heads.

The old lady pouf – that was how she thought of it, and shuddered at the thought. She ran her fingers through her own long, dark hair. God forbid she ever end up with the old lady pouf.

There would be an endless dinner to sit through, with a constant stream of questions pinged in her direction, like missiles.

How’s school? Do you have a boyfriend? What do you want to be when you grow up?


Shouldn’t something that’s ostensibly for you feel less like torture? She’d rather have dinner with Attila the Hun, honestly. At least he’d have some interesting stories to tell.

She jumped about a foot into the air when the doorbell rang. Solemnly, she faced her reflection one last time, trying to feel just a little bit brave, but it was not to be.

She blinked at her reflection-self and with a heavy sigh, began to make her way downstairs.

It had begun.


10 minutes / female character – under 18 / glass

Prompt Courtesy of:


Image Courtesy of: http://www.morguefile.com/


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