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Happy Birthday

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Happy birthday, even though you wouldn't want to hear it like that. You'd have said that it was not your birthday, but the 15th anniversary of it. You'd have had your mom serve you the biggest piece of angel food cake after everyone else, because you believed in simple things and saving the best for last.

You believed in a lot of odd little things, and you never swayed on those beliefs. You believed in cutting your own hair and wearing corduroy pants every day. In never dotting your i's and always crossing your legs; remaining kind yet cautious. Being happy as a lark and never giving up on anyone or anything. You believed most certainly in your future as a crayon artist with two dogs and a library, which wasn't too far fetched, actually. You were somehow incredible with crayons. You sharpened them just right for maximum calligraphy capacity and created flawless gradients on the basis of pure patience and skill.

You believed that patience was a virtue and that skill and talent were interchangeable. You had an obnoxious laugh and you flaunted it. You carried disposable cameras with you everywhere and snapped shockingly poignant motion blurs and narrations of everyday life. Your confused parents offered you a thousand opportunities to purchase a digital camera, but you were an analog girl.

You tended to your pets each morning, planted tulip bulbs in the garden each spring, and helped your mom cook dinner every night. Your help was never much more than grabbing the garlic powder or setting the timer to 25 minutes, and you never touched a dial or a burner. You learned the difference between a dash and a pinch, however, and you believed that such bits of knowledge would one day prove invaluable.

You may not be here, but you never passed away. You may have disappeared, but you were never reported missing. Conformity kidnapped you at age 13 and carelessly replaced you with me. I have my own hair stylist and wear skinny blue jeans every day. I dot my i's with little hearts and I frequently cross my arms. I'm hardly kind and hardly cautious. I'm not as happy as I should be and I give up when it's easiest. I don't concern myself with beliefs and ideals and I have no adept skills in anything. I'm not talented. I stifle my laugh and own an expensive digital camera. I hardly use it. I have no routines based on time of day or year, and I don't like angel food cake. It seems that you and I are not a dash or a pinch alike.

I have a photo of your face pinned to my bedroom door. It was taken four years ago today; your 11th birthday. You snapped it yourself with a disposable camera. I'd call it poignant. There's a bit of angel food cake stuck to your chin and your bangs are terribly crooked. You look happy, though. Happy as a lark.

I should be celebrating; opening presents and laughing and posing for silly pictures. It's my birthday, after all. It's yours too, though, and I can't help but think of that. I wonder if I'm the only one who misses you. I wonder if anyone else has even noticed that you're gone.

I'll find you soon. A year from now, I'll be gone and you'll be here. I don't know where I came from or where conformity has taken you, but I don't doubt that you will find your way back home. You'll be here, just where you belong, with a piece of angel food cake and a smiling face, and if you can find one, a disposable camera. It'll be like you never left, I promise.

For now, happy birthday, even though I hate to say it like that.

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i_am_so_very_large_and_toweringThis 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...
Oct. 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm
i have never read something like this before! it's really great and i really really like it!
raindance72 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 26, 2012 at 9:30 am
I have to say, the comment, "I have never read something like this before" just made my day! I love to think that I wrote something unique. I'm glad you liked it, and thank you! :)
AmieLeeHope said...
Oct. 23, 2012 at 8:57 am
Wow! There's something so mysterious about this piece. I love it. XD Please keep writing. :)
hopelessnostalgic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 23, 2012 at 9:14 am
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the encouraging words! :)
shinegirl24 said...
Oct. 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm
I really liked this piece! You have a really interesting topic, but what really nailed it for me was your tone. Everything flowed together really well, and I especially liked the comparison of the old you to the new you in the fourth to last paragraph. Nice work  :) 
hopelessnostalgic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback! :)
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