My short story Birthday has appeared in Lip magazine #14 available from their website. Lip is a young feminist magazine, for real girls. My story is about a girl on her eighteenth birthday. She grieves for the loss of her childhood in five stages.
Here is an extract:
Alice awoke expecting excitement to well up and spring her from her bed. Instead she found a knot. It was pouring rain outside, beating on the roof, a smooth, constant comfort, making it easy for her head to find its way back to her pillow. She could hear her Mum and Dad bustling about downstairs, maybe already preparing for her party that night. The party to celebrate her ejection from childhood and propulsion into adulthood.
How come she wasn’t excited about this anymore?
She sat up slowly and looked in the mirror. She didn’t feel any different, nor look any different. There was the same spindly brown hair framing her delicate white face. Her eyes were aqua pools of questions, but she could not get beyond the surface. She looked at the pot plant by the windowsill, its leaves were drooping, channelling her mood. It’s dying. An adult wouldn’t let it die.
She jumped back under the covers, shivering with a sudden shock. She didn’t want anybody coming in with colourful presents when she felt so black. No, she thought, I won’t give up everything that I’ve known. She grabbed the teddy bear lying beside her and squeezed it into her chest, feeling temporary relief.
In that same bedroom, maybe ten years before, her sister and she were medical examiners on a ship, rescuing people from the grey ocean after their boats had capsized. They would pull them up with (skipping) ropes and (Magnadoodle) X-Ray them for complications. Often the victims were fine and could then help in the enterprise, other times, sadly, they had to be attended to in the hospital wings with dressings, warmth and medicine. They made friends. They came from different cultures—Disney, Mattel, Garage Sale—but they were all treated equally.
Everything felt unreal to Alice. Soon she would wake up and be fifty, she thought. But by then she wouldn’t have any posters on her walls—how come adults never had posters on their walls? Did they stop loving things? Despite her overwhelming feeling of wanting to be alone, she decided to go downstairs for breakfast and face the music.
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