Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Forgotten Gift

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
“It’s your birthday,” whispers Jenna. Her fingers pick at a thread in the couch. “You can have my blue shirt if you want.”

I don’t, and I wouldn’t take it from her. “Nah, it looks better on you.” I’m rewarded by a beam of relief.

“Birthday hug?” I fold her into my arms, all legs and elbows and bones.

“I’ll go tell Mom.” She scampers off before I can warn her, so I follow.

Mom slumps against the doorframe wearing a sweatshirt I’ve never seen before.

“It’s my birthday,” I say. She nods, like she remembered.

“Damn,” she says, and my hands twitch to cover Jenna’s ears, but she’s heard worse. “I forgot to get you a present.” She trails off, expecting me to say what I’ve said for 7 years, ever since Jenna was born. She watches us, eyes flicking back and forth.

“Don’t worry about it,” I spit out.

“Birthday dinner, then,” begs Jenna, bouncing at out feet. “Or lunch? Please?”

Mom shrugs. “Mo’s is closed Wednesdays.” She tugs her door closed but I slip my foot in. The splintered wood scrapes my bare skin. I don’t say a word, just stare at her bloodshot eyes. I try to sear my thoughts into her mind, how I deserve to have a real birthday with a real mom.

“Next year, your birthday’ll be on a Thursday, I think,” she says. “Mo’s has a steak special from 3 to 5.”



Join the Discussion


This article has 22 comments. Post your own!

LinaAThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm:
Wow. Really amazing writing. You're descriptive and set a mood that stays in the readers mind. You have the talent of getting the reader attached and emotional through a few paragraphs... thats something i havent mastered. :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
lilliput said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm:
Very moving and thought-provoking -- a very brief slice of very sympathetic lives that leaves one hankering for more. Amazing how such a nuanced tale was told so well in such few words! Keep writing, Harebell!
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 2, 2011 at 1:04 am :
Thanks- that's really encouraging!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Danealle said...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm:
Well written 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Alderoth said...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm:
Short, simple and sweet. I thought it was well written with a kind message. At the end, I found myself yearning for more.
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 2, 2011 at 1:03 am :
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:48 am:
I have something else up now...it's called My Other Half, please check it out!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:47 am:
Wow, thank you!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
dia.dreamer said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:17 am:
wow. this story is unique and touching...it feels like reading a poem! I've tried to write stories like this, but I'm never satisfied with the ones I write....I love this! keep writing! :)
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:47 am :
Thanks so much!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
fulladavoid said...
Aug. 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm:
This is very interesting and meaningful. It certainly provoke thinking...why and how the dearest and strongest of feelings could fade off. Great piece of work!! 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
loveylol said...
Aug. 18, 2011 at 11:32 am:
I like it you  have a good start keep  going.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Casy said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm:
I agree with the earlier comment that it's great that you can portray the characters in such a short piece.  Good job.  Keep at it!  Hope to see more from you.
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm :
Thanks! I have a few more pieces but they're still pending:(
 
littleme replied...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm :
Me too! I have one more soo far. Looks like you're off to a good start though!
 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm :
Tell me when it's up! Also, in your other comment did you mean the second last sentence? I was thinking of changing it to 'I try to sear into her mind how I deserve...'. Do you like that better?
 
littleme replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm :
I will! And yes, just write the actions. If you describe the actions, the reader will think you're over-explaining.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Viktoriya A. said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm:
Good. Very good. You can definitely turn this into a novel because this  isn't just a short story, it can be so much more. When you're writing as a character and what the character is thinking, try to just write down the thoughts without saying, " I thought.." or" My thoughts.." just put the feelings write there. It's more poetic in that way.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
InPurpleInk said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm:

This is really good!  It captures a very meaningful story using only a short scene.  It's sad and interesting, so I'd love to see what comes before/after, but at the same time it feels right simply as it is. 

I didn't really find any spelling or grammar errors, except that you said 7, 3, and 5.  I believe the correct way to write numbers formally is to spell them out if they are less than three digits long.  It looks more consistent in writing.

Other tha... (more »)

 
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm :
Ok, thanks- I totally missed it!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback