An Open Invitation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A special little girl's birthday surprise.

Submitted: August 21, 2018

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Submitted: August 21, 2018

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The Lenny’s restaurant on Fair Oaks and Manzanita was filled with pleasant smells and cheerful chatter on this August Saturday morning. Greg watched his precious angel enjoying her smiley face pancakes and cinnamon toast. She gave her daddy a big grin while making a slice of toast dance in the air in front of her. “I wuv you, Daddy.” she said, with her mouth full. Her older siblings Mark and Anna sat across from her, giggling and rolling their eyes at her silliness.

Two hours before and not far from the Lenny’s, three mothers and two teenage girls sat on aluminum bleachers huddled together over their phones at a soccer game. Unaware and uncaring about those sitting around them, they scoffed and laughed at an ad that was posted on a local Deals and Steals social media site.

Greg checked the time on his phone every few minutes. He ordered another cup of decaf and told his little princess to slow down, it wasn’t a race, all while trying to push down tears.

“I’m not a princess, Daddy. I’m Wonder Woman!” she said, matter of factly.

Anna poked her tongue out at her little sister playfully. The birthday girl folded her arms on her chest in mock disapproval. They all laughed, then Greg said

“Your pancakes are getting cold, Wonder Woman.”

“But Daddy the smile will go away if I eat it.” she said seriously, one little arm stretched out in child like exasperation.

“It won’t go away, Baby. The smile will just move to your tummy.” he said

Her face broke into a big grin at this and began to eat again. Her brother Mark, only two years older than her, turned his eyelids inside out to make her squeal. It didn’t work. She just bugged her eyes out back at him and shook her head. Greg laughed out loud at this and checked his phone again. It was almost time.

The soccer games where over for another week. The moms and siblings of players made their way down the bleachers and out to the parking lot. Diane, a mother of twin little boys and a teen daughter side step the rude group at the bottom and headed for her minivan.

“Diane?” one of them shouted out.

“Hey, Diane?!” she tried again louder, but Diane didn’t stop.

A few moments later she caught up to her in the parking lot.

“What’s going on, Diane?” she asked in a huff when she reached her.

“Ya know what, Sissy?” she said and then turned and told her kids to get in the car.

“You can be the coldest bitch sometimes.” she continued after her kids closed their doors.

“What the hell are you talking about, Diane? I just wanted to know who was picking up the girls for Cheer practice tomorrow.” she said, with a confused look on her face.

“You are so oblivious, woman. We all heard you guys.” Diane said in disgust.

Greg reluctantly paid the check and packed back in the car. He thought they might cruise around the old neighborhoods for awhile to kill time. They could point out homes they’d love to live in like they used to do.

The two women got into a shouting match that soon drew a crowd. Mothers with their children started gathering. At first by their cars and then got closer as the subject of their argument became known. A simple ad on social media was the cause.

It read in part:

“Hi, I’m not sure this is allowed, but I’m having a birthday party for my little girl who has autism. She is turning six on Saturday…”

Greg made his way through the winding streets of the mid century housing development he lived in for a second time since leaving the restaurant. He could see his house from across the park now. There were still no cars around it.

“Don’t be sad, Daddy. It’s my birfday.” she said. Greg looked down at her and smiled.

The two in the backseat seemingly oblivious to what was going on, continued to punch each other in the shoulder after passing any Volkswagen. Greg finally pulled the car into the driveway. ‘What was she thinking? No one cares. They have their own problems.’ he thought while they headed for the front door.

…..she doesn’t have any friends and we lost her older brother and sister in a car accident last year. We are trying to make this day special for her. We don’t have too many people to invite, so we were hoping some kids would like to attend. It would mean so much to her father and I. 
Thank you. Trisha

They made their way through the sad quiet house. Greg called out to his wife.

“Trish! We’re home, hun! He yelled up the stairs.

“I’m back here, Greg!” she answered from the back porch.

Greg made his way to the back of the house, with his little Wonder Woman in tow. Trish was standing on the back porch with a lit birthday cake in her hands. Greg thought he saw tear reddened face under his wife’s make-up. He began to start a chorus of Happy Birthday when his wife stopped him. She put an index finger to her lips and gestured to them to follow her out the back door.

“Surprise! Happy birthday, Tabby!” the crowd of kids and mothers yelled.

Tabby squealed with delight. She made her way through her backyard hugging every little boy in a soccer uniform and every mom and daughter. She proclaimed this to be “The bess birfday ebber!”

Mark and Anna sat on the backyard fence overlooking the party. They watched their little sister chase some boys with her lasso of truth and laugh. They saw happiness, once lost, in their parents eyes. The two of them sat side by side for two and a half hours taking in the love and the laughter all around them.

“I told you, Squirt.” Anna said.

“Don’t call me that.” he said, squaring up his shoulders.

“Oh yeah, what are you gonna do about it?”

“This!” he said, and cocked his arm back. But she was older and quicker. She socked him on the shoulder before he knew it.

“Hey!” he complained. “That ain’t fair. I wasn’t ready”

Anna pulled her dead little brother closer and mussed up his hair. He laughed at this and shoved her. They looked out over the party one last time and faded away.


© Copyright 2018 R.Guy Behringer. All rights reserved.

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