Here´s a little story for a contest over at Writer´s Round-About. Hey, If you don´t try you never succeed, and the prizes are yummy :)
The door was open. Light streamed into the room like a waterfall, or so it looked from the sideways-on-bed, head-hanging-off-edge position I woke up in. I pulled myself up, cringed as my neck protested loudly with a crack and pain, and sighed heavily. There was noise in the kitchen. There were people in my house. There were kids in my house. The tiny kind, with diapers and sticky little hands and headache-building whining. Why were my sisters here, and why… Crap.
Suddenly the door wasn´t as much open as filled with faces. Horribly, uncomfortably happy and excited faces.
Happy birthday Lily! They announced like it was the best thing ever. Crap.
Crap crap crap. (How old am I again?)
After being pulled out of bed, dragged into the kitchen and pushed down on a chair, I was handed a cup of tea, (yes, tea. I know! Don´t they know me at all?) and a plate of pancakes.
Eat up sweetheart! My oldest sister urged and pushed the plate closer to me on the table, making an unbearable squeaky happy sound.
Can I please have a coffee? I ventured, half braced to get yelled at. My sisters were a devoted union against coffee drinking, smoking and gardening without gloves. I was the black sheep in the family, impossibly reckless with garden-tools and dirt. Apparently, skin on one´s palms and fingers isn´t supposed to feel like mine does. It´s supposed to be soft and perfect, while mine is more like used, rough sandpaper.
I blame it on the soap. That disgusting, all natural, herbal soap Diana gave me and I feel obligated to use. (Why can´t ´all natural´ smell good?)
Anyway, back to my morning. Which was actually closer to noon than I thought.
Diana waited patiently for me to finish my breakfast before handing me a big greeting card that said “This is your day! Make the most of it!” Ironically, on the inside was a list of activities for the day. Their day, not mine. Mine would never ever start with a walk in the park.
You know how they say “it was a walk in the park” and mean that something was simple and easy?
Who the hell came up with that?
I was dressed, fed and hauled to the park in a minivan like one of the toddlers. I kind of felt lucky not to be put in a car seat and cuddled. If I had to describe the car ride from my house (please let me go back there and have a cup of coffee and pretend I don´t exist today) I´d compare it to standing under a leaking roof. It´s stressful, you know you are going to get a splash of water on you sooner or later and you hate that you can´t go up there and make it stop. Plus noise.
The park was, well, the park. Not much to say really. I did my part, I walked. They ran around, played with a ball and laughed. Meanwhile I tried to sneak away to beg for some coffee somewhere, but was caught in the act and put in charge of the snacks.
A good hour later it was time for the next activity on the list. Shopping. (Yep.) The kids were sent home with their dads and my sisters kidnapped me. They started off with shoes, then clothes, then jewelry… When all failed they turned to desperate measures and brought me to a bookstore.
Alright, this I could do. I buried my nose in a book and waited while they browsed the self-help section. Before they decided on the right one for me and my deeply troubled life, I picked out one all by myself and slapped on top of their stack. “How to break free from overly interfering family members”.
A few crossed over items on that list later, I was taken home and by using all my baby-sister powers I managed to perswade them to go to the movies without me.
I threw myself on the couch, turned on the TV and sank into the cushions, so ready to relax. A comedy was about to begin and I read the description before changing my mind.
I threw myself on the bed, buried my face in the pillow and waited for that wash of relief. The mattress was soft, the pillow was heavenly. I breathed in, breathed out, changed my mind again.
I called mom.
Happy birthday love, she said and I heard dad echo the words behind her. No doubt reading in the kitchen.
I sank into the couch, let my head fall back and put my feet up on the coffee table.
Thanks mum. How old am I again?
Too old to have your feet on the table, she answered without hesitating and I laughed.
How´s dad? The worry in my voice was too clear and I felt my heart get crushed a little bit.
He´s having a good day. Misses you, though. We both do.
I know. I´ll come down there soon. Promise.
I know love. Go watch TV and talk to me tomorrow. It´s your day. Don´t spend it on me.
I thought of my sisters and their efforts.
I think I´m gonna go catch the second half of a movie, actually.