A Special Share for STORYADAY StoryFest
The Life-Changing Magic of Birthdays
An original flash fiction story
My therapist is trying to help me to desire the moment but I think about houses and babies and SUVs. It is my birthday, yes. We sit at a reserved table dressed in white and a candle glows like owl eyes in the night. He is sweating and his hands shake as he butters his bread with the rosette butter pat. My breathing is shallow, my thighs sweat and stick to the chair. I will stand up when we leave. His eyes lift from the silver knife polished to a mirror. Can he see my love reflected? You brought a gift, I say. The knot of anticipation and surprise grows with each sip of Merlot. Yes, he says. Can I open it? I say. Better to wait, he says. Come on, the food isn’t here yet. He looks at me with eyes I haven’t seen before. I think you should be patient. I pout like a kindergartner and sip. I look at the next table. An old couple shares an entree. He cuts the fish just so and lifts it to her plate. She smiles at him with her whole face. I want to be them. Here. He hands me the box. I rip open the shiny paper like a dinosaur and it is Paradise Lost a book I have been coveting from his collection. I clutch the book to my chest. Before I utter a sound he says, Parting Gift. What? I have found one word. I’m breaking up with you. I drop the book and he kneels to the floor to rescue it. Both hands cover my nose and I press my fingertips between my eyes and a loud cry exits. The patrons believe my gift was a diamond and start to applaud. I run sweaty thighs glistening.
Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature and woman of honor; seer of nuance; accidental inspirationalist; keeper of the little red doors, and conjurer of everyday magic who is busy writing short stories. A future Minnesotan temporarily hiding in Indiana, her poetry has been published in The Storyteller Magazine and her flash fiction in The Ninja Writers Monthly and Elephant Never. Her essay is published in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology. You can also connect with Tammy through Twitter @TLBREIT.