QUANTUM SHORTS 2013: SHORTLISTED, YOUTH CATEGORY
Mrs. Evans toyed with candles apprehensively; the yearly dilemma was once again here. It was her son Michael’s birthday, of course candles for the cake were a must, but she couldn’t have a repeat of last year…she settled for a single star-shaped candle, harmless.
“Guess what day it is!” Michael called, sprinting down the stairs.
“Happy birthday sweetie. Everyone should be here for the party in a few minutes” Mrs. Evans continued tidying up the house pushing her anxieties aside. Michael walked over to the kitchen counter excited to see the cake his mom had made for his birthday, his eyes drifting to the pile of candles still sitting on the counter.
“Why did you only put one candle on the…” The ringing of the doorbell saved Mrs. Evans from an explanation; she always dreaded this time of year. The guests filed in, wishing Michael a happy birthday as they handed him their gifts.
“Hey I really wasn’t sure what to get you…how old are you turning anyways?” his friend Christian asked nervously. Michael looked around as if he was waiting for the answer to appear in front of him. It was obviously his birthday, but how old was he turning? He avoided the question, laughing it off.
“Go grab some food Christian. I’ll meet you over there.” It didn’t make any sense; why couldn’t he figure it out? No matter how hard he thought about it he had no notion of his age. He looked across the room and saw the mirror hanging in the corner.
“Once I see myself I’ll remember out how old I am” Michael reassured himself as he walked over to the mirror, then he would finally be able to relax and enjoy his party. He anxiously lifted his eyes to his reflection and began to figure it out.
“Somewhere around 14 or 15,” Michael decided after staring at his reflection for a few minutes.
“Hey what are you doing?” his friend Jack asked concerned. Michael spun around confused. Who was in his house?
“How did you get in here?”
“You invited me to the party…” Jack said slowly, his confusion now mimicking Michael’s. It was all so fuzzy, Michael faintly remembered that he had thrown this party but he couldn’t remember the reason. There was clearly something wrong with him; why couldn’t he remember? None of it made sense. Unwilling to advertise his inability to remember something as important as the reason for a party that was currently taking place at his house Michael played along.
“It was a joke. Hahaha! Obviously I invited you.” Jack laughed along and all was forgotten. But Michael’s concern was growing, he continued searching his brain for the faintest recollection of why Jack would be at his house…why he would have thrown a party, but to no avail; the memory was simply not there. Michael sat lost in thought until the tune of happy birthday abruptly drew his attention to the kitchen; the cake had been cut and his guests were gathered around the table singing. Of course, it was his birthday party, how had he not known?
“How old are you this year?” Mark called to him after the song was finished. Michael stared blankly at Mark unable to answer.
Mrs. Evans sighed, “Happens every year…”