Choose to be the new girl in town at your own peril. I get now why Mom never lived farther than twenty minutes from the house she was born in all her life. I looked around my empty living room, the balloons in the corners mocking my solitude. The food on the kitchen table sat untouched, a chocolate cake still pristine in the center.
This was what happened when a girl sponsored her own birthday party.
Someone knocked on the front door. I checked my watch and greeted Marcy, my best friend. She shoved a present into my hands.
“Hi, Hattie, sorry I can’t stay, but I wanted to give you this so you wouldn’t think I forgot.” She smiled, ran back down the driveway to her Honda, waved, and zipped away. She’d been fifteen minutes late. We might be rethinking that friend title.
I placed the small gift on the table and put the food back in the refrigerator. Didn’t want to poison anyone, should they ever show up. I hadn’t invited a lot of people—there weren’t many I knew well enough yet to let into my home—but I’d put out a decent spread. There was even alcohol, and I didn’t drink.
After another half-hour, I gave up and turned the lights out in the living room, then cut a piece of cake for myself and stuck one candle in it.
“Happy friggin’ birthday to me.”