The Thirteenth Birthday

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Set your story at a party that has gone horribly wrong.... view prompt

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Coming of Age Fiction Kids

Carol rolled over in bed to see her bedside clock. Fifteen more minutes until she had to get ready for school. She needed to get up, to get in the bathroom first. Her four younger siblings took forever in the bathroom. Today was a special day and she couldn't wait to get it started. Today she turned thirteen. A teenager at last! Life was going to be different now that she was practically an adult. She couldn't wait to meet with her parents to discuss what her new privileges would be, and the fact that she wanted a room of her own in the new house. Now that she was thirteen she was sure they would agree. She knew her friends would do some thing special at school today. That was tradition, everyone got celebrated on their birthday. She jumped out of bed and began her morning routine.

Face washed, dressed, hair brushed, homework by the front door, and bed made then off to the kitchen for breakfast.

"Happy Birthday," muttered her mother as she faced the stove. Not a smile, not a hug, but she did remember. That would have to do. As Mom put her least favorite breakfast on the table, Carol sighed. Oatmeal on your birthday ought to be against the law. She knew they would have cake and ice cream after dinner, but this was an insult. With no time to sulk, Carol gagged down the oatmeal,, and carried her bowl and orange juice glass to the sink. She got her lunch out of the refrigerator, kissed Mom good-bye, got her backpack and headed for the bus stop.

The bus was filled with kids she knew and she found a seat near her favorite neighbor. Conversation was easy and excitement began to build as the bus neared the Middle School. Carol hopped off the bus expectantly looking for her four best friends. They had known each other since kindergarten. They always met before school, ate lunch together and she had classes with different ones throughout her day. Today would be special that was for sure.

She saw Nancy first and they walked together to their lockers. Nancy talked about her pesky brother and put her books away.

"I have to see Ms. Martine before class, see you later." Nancy said as she ran off in the direction of the science wing. Carol was devastated. Nancy didn't say a word about her birthday. Carol dragged herself to English. Bev was in this class surely, she would remember. Bev smiled and waved from her assigned seat two rows away. Carol and Bev walked to their next class. Not a word about her birthday.

The pit in her stomach got a bit bigger. Was it possible that all her friends forgot her milestone 13th birthday? She was the first one to turn thirteen, maybe they were jealous.

Lunch time came and went and nothing changed. They ate lunch at their favorite table and conversation went as usual. Boys, how mean Mr. Jordan was to give a quiz, boys Peter Howard's new haircut, boys and then the bell rang. Two more classes before dismissal. Carol hoped she could get through it without crying. That would be the worst to cry in front of everyone. Maybe this was what it was like being a grown up no one remembered your birthday. If that was true she wanted to stay twelve. Maybe she was just being selfish. But her stomach truly hurt.

During her last class she asked to be excused to the nurse's office. The nurse took her temperature and said it was normal. Why don't you just rest here until the bell rings.

"By the way, Happy Birthday, the nurse said looking down at my health record. Thirteen that's a milestone birthday." Seriously? the nurse is the first person to notice it was my birthday and she read it off my health record. Could this day get any worse? Carol left the nurse's office and went straight to the bus. When she got home she went right to her room and laid on her bed. Her mom came in to see if she was alright.

" I have a stomach ache and I don't want to talk about it!" Carol was awakened by knocking on her bedroom door. Her mom came in and asked for a favor.

"I'm cooking dinner and the kids are driving me nuts, could you please take them out to the front yard for awhile?"

"But I'm sick!" Carol balked.

"Well I'm making your birthday dinner and I need your help."

"FINE!" Carol got up gathered her siblings and took them outside.

I probably won't even be able to eat the dinner! This is definitely the worst birthday ever. She got involved in a game with the kids and was almost having fun, when a car, she didn't recognize pulled in the driveway. The doors all opened and jumping out were Nancy, Bev, Diane and Roberta. They had balloons, flowers and gifts and they were singing Happy Birthday to you. Carol was in shock.

"Surprise, you're thirteen!"

Carol's mother called them in for dinner. She had made about a hundred tacos, Spanish rice, chips and fruit salad. All her favorite things. When everyone was seated the explanations began. This party had been planned for weeks. The girls shared that they were so afraid they would give it away they just decided not to talk about her birthday. Carol had never considered that a surprise party was the reason. The party continued with birthday cake, ice cream and gifts.

The girls stayed awhile but it was a school night. All too soon, they were gone. Carol helped her mother clean up.

"I thought everyone had forgotten. I was so sad all day. I'm ashamed of how I felt. I should have known my friends wouldn't let me down.

"Well, sometimes things aren't as they appear. Did you enjoy your first surprise party?"

"It's the best birthday so far, but it's only my thirteenth!"

Carol heard her mother laughing as she headed to bed. Carol thought to herself, I'm glad you only turn thirteen once.

May 08, 2021 22:48

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1 comment

Tricia Shulist
15:40 May 15, 2021

That was sweet. Thank you.

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