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Teen Fiction: Birthdays and Tiffany’s

Ariella Schiller

Becky Becky Becky. You’d think after 12 years of coexisting in the same room, the same space, the same role, I’d be used to her

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

 Mishpacha image

 

P resent day…

I fumble with the box, hands shaking badly enough for it to take two tries to get the white bow off. I finger the satiny ribbon, and gaze down; the thin black lettering seems to be speaking to me. He clears his throat.

I whirl around, tripping on the balloons scattered across the hotel room carpet. “You didn’t,” I say.

Daddy winks. I swallow, my heart pounding.

“Well,” he says, jerking his chin toward the box.

I pull the sleeves of my cardigan over my fingers and smile. The box. I ease off the cover and there it is.

Out of stock, six-year-old design, out of date… perfection.

Three looped strands pulled through a hollow heart, with the famous Tiffany’s emblem on the clasp.

The bracelet.

“Well?” he says again. I smile and will myself to not make everything so dramatic, always.

“It’s… perfect,” I say hoarsely.

He holds out his arms and I hug him, while trying not to cry.

“Happy 18th, Lans. And when I get back from shul, it’s cake time!”

I nod happily, and lift my mug of hot chocolate. The bracelet slides under the cardigan and up my arm; the weight is both cumbersome and freeing.

“Thank you,” I call after him. It’s a weak response to this overdone celebration, but I know he understands. He knew to buy the bracelet, after all.



Six years earlier…

I run my tongue over my braces, feeling the sharp squares indent the soft flesh. Good. This way I won’t scream and scream and scream until I’m blue in the face, until someone actually looks at me, sees me, hears me.

“Good job, Becks.” I hear Mommy’s lilting voice and look up to see Becky making her slow, stilted way around the garden.

“Blah blah, Becks,” I mutter, dropping my head onto the counter. I feel a hand tousle my hair and it makes me inexplicably happy, but I jerk away anyway. “Not the hair, Daddy,” I mutter, lifting my head. He winks at me and lifts his full coffee mug. “Happy birthday, Lani-girl.” I roll my eyes.

“Oh, is it my birthday, too?” I mutter.

“What?”

His tone is so surprised that I suddenly lose patience with the whole thing. I exit the kitchen without explaining, without looking back at the dumb garden and its inhabitants.

Becky Becky Becky. You’d think after 12 years of coexisting in the same room, the same space, the same role, I’d be used to her. Surely after sharing a cocoon, a source, for eight months.

Yet here I am, and there she is.

I enter our room sideways, so I don’t have to see her side, her guard rail, her seat, her walker. Plopping on my bed, I finger the pink stitching on my comforter and inhale the sunny Floridian air coming in through the open window.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 701)

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