“Huh! I’m up. I’m up. Stop yelling, Lexi. It’s five in the morning.”
“But it’s my birthday.” My birthday. My favorite holiday. I would look forward to the next one the day after it passed. We always had dinner after dad got off of work. During the day, Mom and I went shopping for my special birthday dinner outfit. The year before it had been a blue, green and white dress. I liked it because the colors swirled together to look like the ocean. I wore matching blue and white shoes, and I had my hair done up all special, at the spa and salon, we went to after clothes shopping; Emilia’s Peace. Then Mom and I would come home and I would help make chicken, baked potatoes, spinach, biscuits and rolls-my favorite.
“I know it’s your birthday. It’s all you’ve talked about for weeks. We’ve counted down to it for about a month now.”
“It’s been four weeks, three days, and…uhh…seventeen minutes, twenty-one and counting seconds.”
“Wow. Someone’s been looking forward to her birthday.”
“You know I have. It’s going to be su-per fun. Right dad?”
“Absolutely, sweetie. Now please get of me so I can get ready for work.” My dad always worked on my birthday. He wanted to be an artist, but got stuck being a lawyer. His boss, mean Mr. Domino, had my dad work on my birthday, every year. My dad explained to me that Mr. Domino didn’t do it on purpose. Which he technically didn’t, because my dad had worked at the same job, for the same hours, for thirteen years. We always knew his schedule. His vacation was always the same time too; the week before my birthday.
“I still don’t think you should have to work on my birthday.”
“I know, but we went over this already. Your birthday isn’t a national holiday-”
“Yes, not yet.”
“And when it is, no one will have to work.” I had a tendency to think big. I always thought that my birthday was a big deal, and that everyone else should think so too. “Dad, don’t forget to get my cake, okay?”
“Do I ever?”
“No, but you forgot to get the cake for Eric’s baby shower.”
“I guess now that you know I’ll never be able to live that down. But I saved us from having to waste cake.”
“Ha. That’s sort of funny. I guess.”
“But please don’t talk about it in front of your mother.” Twenty years ago, my Mom and dad were expecting a son, Eric. When my parents got to the hospital, my mother was in labor. By the time the doctors were able to help her, Eric had suffocated and died. My mother then became so depressed that she refused to have another child. Five years later my dad said it may make her feel better to have a child, then a few months later, I was born.
“Now, I believe your mother was calling for you. You better go see what she wants.”
“Mom? Did you call me?”
“Yes, Alexia.” My mom was a nice woman, despite being a little strict. She and dad got married twenty five years before I was born. My dad said when he was in high school she used to be a delinquent, and leader of an all boys gang, and he was an honors student. Ironically, she wanted me to grow up like a proper lady. If I wanted to hear any of her gang stories I had to ask Dad or her old gang mate, Joey. One day dad was attacked by Mom’s gang, on the way home from school, and just as she was about to walk away afterwards, their eyes met. Dad said that because he was going in and out of consciousness, he believed she was an angel. A few days after that, they met up again and dad asked her out on a date. At first she was shocked and refused, but after dad got Mom’s gang to help him, after several failed attempts, she was so touched and said yes. After graduating high school, dad proposed to her, though neither of their parents wanted them to: Mom was a disgrace to the family and Dad wasn’t rich enough to pay for her to go back to school (Mom’s parents’ “problem”) and Mom being a drop out, (dad’s parents’ problem) wasn’t qualified for college. That disagreement caused neither of my grandparents to be at their wedding or to be seen in my childhood. But my parents say they still love each other as much as the day the started dating.
“What would you like me for?”
“Oh, nothing much. Just to give you your birthday gift.”
“My gift!? Really!?”
“Yes. Go look in your room.”
“Okay!” I said running towards my room. When I got there I saw the most adorable brown and white puppy sleeping on my bed with a red bow around its neck. “Ahhhhhh!” I screamed.
“Hey. I thought I told you to watch it with all the screaming,” dad mocked with a smile as he sauntered into my room, dressed in a tan suit.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“Honey, I don’t think she likes it,” Dad called to Mom.
“Oh no. I guess we’ll just have to return it,” Mom said walking in.
“No! I love it! Thank you so much!” I said hugging them as tight as I could.
“Hey, hey. Watch the suit. If you want that cake on time, you might not want to wrinkle it,” Dad said.
“Sorry,” I said as I let go.
“Just kidding. Well,” he said turning to Mom, “I should be getting to work now. See you this evening, Sarah.”
To which Mom responded, “Okay, Daniel. Have a good day.” Then dad leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. Then kissed me on the forehead.
“Bye dad. Don’t forget the cake,” I said as I walked with him to the car. I liked my dad’s car a lot. A bright blue Cadillac, with a black strip running from the front to the back, virtually splitting it in half.
“Yes, Lexi. I won’t forget at all. Have fun with your mom, okay?”
“See you later.”