Happy Unpleasant Birthday

Published: Sep 03, 2020

I was seventeen at the time, approaching eighteen, wondering if I would feel different, if anything would suddenly change to mark the passage of another year. Up to that point none of my birthdays had meant anything but another moment spent within the walls, confined by time, people, rules, objects, my own thoughts. At the home, your birthday consisted of a cupcake with a single candle on the top, unlit. The other children stared with jealousy, attacking notions behind their eyes. I knew the emotion all too well, having felt the same thing.

Eighteen was different, there was no cupcake, there was no child. You were an adult, which meant you were not there. It had happened six times during my life at the home. Each time the excited talk, the questions, and the desire to break free. And that's what they did. The night before they stayed out all night, breaking the curfew, and never returning at all to accept their punishment. Adulthood meant you could leave; and six out six possible times an eighteenth birthday came that was the outcome.

Eighteen meant I could leave, but would I.