The sun’s warm glow creeps through my white curtains and greets me as I open my eyes. My muddled brain begins to stir with the thought that something important happens today, while I casually throw my arms over my head and begin my morning stretch. All at once, it hits me. Eighteen years old. Holy shit I’m finally eighteen!
A bubble of excitement blooms in my chest as I jump from the bed and rush to get ready. As soon as I slide on my shoes, I head straight for the kitchen. Grabbing a box of Lucky Charms from the top of the pantry, I make a bee line to the fridge; praying, like crazy that there’s still a splash of milk left over. But before I can even touch the handle of the fridge, a voice from behind my shoulder stops me dead in my tracks.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were going to see your dad?”
I turn from the fridge and see my mom standing only a few feet from me. It’s only seven in the morning, and she’s already nursing a glass of rum and soda. Great, that guarantees that she’ll be in a rotten mood tonight when I get back.
“I’m heading over there as soon as I grab some breakfast.” I answer her, as I turn back to the fridge and find that there’s enough milk left for one bowl of cereal. Thank you, Jesus.
She walks out of the room without saying another word. Of course, she forgot to wish me a happy birthday. I wouldn’t expect her to remember. She never has before.
My dad is the one that has always made a big deal out of it. Truth be told, it was the one day out of the year he would stay sober. In the past, he would take me to the city and we’d fill up on Mexican food, before heading back home to share a small cake. When I was really little, he would take me to the zoo or one of the parks in Kansas City. One year, he even took me to see Eminem in concert. Watching my biker dad get down to Guilty Conscience is one of my best memories ever. So while I was used to my mom giving me the cold shoulder on the day that most mothers gush over their children, Dad’s gestures managed to make me feel special and reminded me that I was wanted in the world. This year will be different though. With Dad in the hospital, no one will remember that today is my eighteenth birthday; my official transition from a young girl into a grown woman. Even Grams, Gramps, and Uncle Holt will probably forget. They have too much going on right now with trying to make sure Dad is taken care of than thinking about the significance of the date. A small part of me understands, but deep down it still hurts.
Shaking my head to clear my sense, I remind myself that I’ve got to get to the hospital and to stop feeling sorry for myself. It doesn’t matter if no one remembers what day it is. I’m here, I’m alive, and that’s all that matters. No longer hungry for my breakfast, I walk out the front door and head towards Grams.
Just as I’m stepping onto the side walk, my phone rings. I see Preach’s name flash across the screen. My heart does a small flip as I immediately press the answer button. “Hey.”
His velvety voice sends a chill down my spine as he says, “Happy Birthday, Little Flower.”