Sweet Sixteen

January 21, 2009
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I was really excited. Tomorrow was my sixteenth birthday -- sweet sixteen. The day every girl dreams about from the time she enters first grade.

I wasn’t doing anything too extreme; the day of my birthday, Dad and I would take the train to New York City and spend one glorious week in the Big Apple. To make it better, it was also the week before Christmas! I could just picture how beautiful the city would look, all spruced up with decorations, and a light dusting of powdery snow on the ground. It would be my first time ever going there, and, like I said, boy was I excited.

I guzzled down the last tasty drops of my hot chocolate and peppermint ice cream smoothie. Hot chocolate was my ultimate favorite food in the whole world, and Ethan knew it. That is why he treated me to one of the most famous concoctions at the local ice cream parlor.

“Thanks, Ethan!”

He grinned. “Just an early birthday present.” Then, as a second thought, he added, “After all, my best girl didn’t invite me to her big birthday bash tomorrow!”

That’s how Ethan talked; I was his best girl. As if he had millions of girls swooning over him, and I was his favorite. I blushed as we picked up our coats and walked out the door.

Tiny flurries of snow swirled through the icy winter air.

By the time we got back to my house, the flurries had changed to snow -- -- real snow. It looked like we were going to have a white Christmas after all!

I opened my eyes. The icy air seeped through my blanket and chilled me to the bone! I wondered if Dad had accidentally shut off the heat last night. With a groggy sigh, I pulled my soft fleece blanket over my head and settled back deep into my warm down pillow. Then I remembered; today was my birthday! I bolted out of bed, pausing only to thrust my bare feet into my slippers. When I flicked the light switch, nothing happened. I tried the other one. Still nothing. I reached for my portable radio and turned it on.

“Power lines down, in counties all across the state -- ” the man on the radio announced.

Power’s out? But, that could only mean...” I ran to my window and threw open the blinds.

Sure enough! A thick blanket of snow covered the ground and lacy flakes swirled about in the air. I looked down and saw my older brother, Liam, shoveling a path from the driveway to our front door.

Snow! I dashed out of my room and down the stairs, and across the house to our kitchen. Mom sat by the stove with a box of instant pancake mix in her hands.

“Morning, sleepy head!”

“Hi, Mom!”

“Happy Birthday, Hon!” Dad announced from the table.

Mom walked over to me. “I was going to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast, but with the power out, it looks like we’ll be eating something else.”

“That’s all right. Hey, Dad, what time are we leaving for the train?”

Dad suddenly grew serious. “Carrie, with this much snow, we won’t be going anywhere for a long time.”

I stared.

“I’m sorry, Honey.” Mom put her hand on my shoulder.

I brushed it off.

“What do you mean we can’t go? I’ve been looking forward to this trip my whole life! We just can’t call it off!”

I could feel my cheeks turning red. I knew that Dad was right. But, still, I couldn’t help fighting it.

“By the time all this snow is gone, Christmas break will be over!” I moaned.

Without waiting for a response, I turned and fled back up to my room.

It just wasn’t fair! I had been waiting for this day forever, and now I couldn’t go! Who knew when my next chance would be?

The snow that minutes ago seemed to engulf the world in a glorious winter wonderland now turned to cold prison bars.

“Carrie?” Dad peeked his head through a crack in my door.

I sniffed, trying to hold back a tear.

“I’m sorry, honey. I know how this must feel for you. I was looking forward to the trip myself, actually.”

I sniffed again.

“But you know what my father used to say when I got down? He’d say, ‘Son, whenever life gets you down, just grin.’ What he meant was, if you make up your mind ahead of time to be happy, you’ll feel a lot better than you would have if you settled for moping.”

He patted my shoulder and left.

What he said made sense. I picked myself off my bed and went back downstairs for breakfast.

The rest of the day was okay -- -- not as good as I had thought it would be the day before, but definitely not terrible. Mom and Dad gave me some presents, and I played board games with Liam, and even went sledding with him and and his friend, Ian. But I still yearned for New York City.

Then, just after lunch, there was a knock on the door. Mom left the table and, in a few minutes, called out, “Carrie, it’s for you!”

Curiously, I went over to see who it was.

Grinning in the front hall, with It’s a Wonderful Life and a can of instant hot chocolate, stood Ethan.

“Happy birthday, Carrie!”

Noticing the baffled expression on my face, he added, “I knew with all this snow, you wouldn’t me going anywhere. You didn’t think I’d miss your birthday, did you?”

I ran to him and threw my arms around his neck.

We made the hot chocolate and sat down to watch the movie. Suddenly, I got to thinking.

Here I was, drinking hot chocolate with my best friend in the whole world as snow flurried down engulfing the world with a white heaven. Maybe this would be a pretty sweet sixteen after all!





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Moriah said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 1:51 pm
This IS sweet. :)
 
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