December 8, 2009
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We went to a Moroccan restaurant for my seventh birthday to watch the belly dancer. I watched her with an innocent fascination, naive to why the coarse dollar bills were stuffed in the thin material against her gyrating hips. It was around this time when most girls in my class used their birthday wish to beg to be fairies, princesses or some other popular and cliched fantasy character. When the cake was placed in front of me and my father's eyes were brought back to me I closed my eyes tight to make that fateful wish. I wish I was thirteen. I opened my eyes, puckered my lips and blew hard to put out the dancing flame before me. It was that fateful wish I repeated every year from then on. I don't know what it was about 'thirteen'. Maybe, it was the cliched superstition that surrounded the number. Or rather, it could have been the suffix -teen that attracted my attention like some symbol of independence and maturity. To me turning thirteen was the ultimate goal. I would dream up parties with flowing ball gowns, masks, charming and mysterious suitors. My mind was lost in the possibilities. My father during this time could barely contain his bemused smirk, he is a man grounded firmly in reality. Still, even he couldn't help have his fun. I was around eight when he started. Every time I would begin to ramble about the infinite possibilities of being thirteen, he would pull his face into a stoic and serious expression.

"You know when the clock strikes twelve on your thirteenth birthday you will turn into..." The pause had my breathe locked within my chest, "...a pumpkin."

"No." My eyes grew wide, then I burst out laughing. I knew it was a joke.
Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind the concept intrigued me. It continued like that for years. Then came that fateful night. I couldn't sleep, I was so ready to finally reach my ideal age. Somewhere in the back of my mind my father's words kept sounding. You will turn into a pumpkin. I had heard it so many times I was almost waiting for it. My alarm started to vibrate, signifying twelve o' clock. Signifying the realization of my goal. Signifying the end of the wait. My eyes squeezed shut, just as they had when I made that wish for the first time at age seven with the belly dancer in the corner. Then I opened them and there was.... nothing. No pumpkin. No fireworks. Just another moment in what would seem to be a continuing life long experience. I guess I should have been disappointed, but instead I ran to my mother's room ready for my next wish.... sixteen.

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Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm
you describe girlhood fantasies very well :) good beginning as well, catches the attention. keep writing b/c that is the only way to get better :) keep up the good work :D
AnaBanana said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm
I loved the story, Quoth-the-Raven (or The-Pumpkin-That-Never-Was?). I'm thirteen almost five fold but remember perfectly my first thirteenth birthday (of course I've had another one every thriteen years) and all I expected would happen from then on.
Now, will you tell us how it went when you turned sixteen?
Keep on writing and publishing, we'll be reading...
CarmencitaPitaFajitaMargeritaSombrero replied...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm
The Pumpkin That Never Was, I like that. Would you mind terribly if I were to borrow that? Anywho, I am so glad you replied. I never thought to write a follow-up, but now I shall.
AnaBanana replied...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm
It's all yours!
Quoth-the-Raven replied...
Dec. 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm
Why thank you! I have started working on a new story just for you. I shall try posting it soon.
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