The next day, it was Doris' 40th birthday, and there were plans made to celebrate it. Doris had no idea about this, but Marilyn, Doris' closest friend, had been planning a picnic for the whole family. Everybody else in the family knew, and they had to keep quiet about it.
When Doris found out, she was very surprised at the thought of doing something for her - Doris was the one doing everything for everyone else, but it was now a change for once in her life.
"You deserve it!" cried Marilyn.
"After all you've done for us over the years", said Janey, "I would not feel right if we did not plan something for you!"
"Thank you all so much!" cried Doris.
When they arrived at the park, several sheets were laid out on the floor, and everybody sat underneath a tree in the shade. It was the most beautiful area in the whole town - the view from that spot was marvellous. The people who attended Doris' birthday celebration were Doris, Marilyn, her husband, Janey, Michael and Winnie.
"It's such a perfect day", said Doris.
"We're lucky your birthday is in the Summer", replied Marilyn.
"I wish this day would never end", said Janey.
"You're not the only one", replied Winnie.
After the family had prepared to eat the food, Marilyn and her husband stood up to make an announcement.
"We have some good news for you all", said Marilyn, "I'm pregnant!"
"That's fantastic!" cried Doris, "after all this time!"
"We never thought it was going to happen!" yelled Marilyn's husband, who was excited at the thought.
"Well, you've finally done it!" said Doris, standing up to give her true friend a cuddle.
"I...I have to go now", said Michael, interupting the happiness after five minutes.
"Why?" asked Winnie.
"I told my mates I'd meet them around now, so I'd best be off".
"What mates?" asked Doris.
"Well...you know...Donny, Alan".
"I've never heard of these people before!"
"Of course you have. Remember...they were at my 13th".
"Well, I can't remember that far back - that was four birthdays ago!"
"Well, I have to go now".
"Can't you just stay for five minutes, it's your mother's birthday, for goodness sake!"
Michael got up and walked away.
"You can't control my life any more!" he cried.
"Just let him get on with it", said Winnie, "if he wants to get on with his life, kick him out the house!"
"I'm not going to do that to my own son", replied Doris, who felt like her birthday was ruined.
The family continued to stay in the park for a while, wondering what Michael was up to.
"He'll be fine", said Marilyn, "your Michael was always responsible".
"But that was when he was a child", replied Doris, "he's not a child any more - he's a teenager, and he could get himself into some serious trouble. Times change!"
"They certainly do", said Winnie, "but Michael was right - it was his choice, and he chooses to do these things. Who knows - maybe we could be worrying over nothing, and perhaps he is innocent after all!"
"Well, it's been a lovely day", said Marilyn, trying to change the subject into something happier, "so why don't we finish off with a few drinks at our house!"
"That would be lovely", replied Doris, trying to put on a brave face.
After having spent a few hours at Marilyn's house that evening, the Morrison family returned home, all except for Michael.
"Stop worrying!" cried Winnie, "he's going to come through this door any minute now. Just watch!"
Doris entered the living room, where Janey was listening to the radio again.
"Doris Day?" asked Doris.
"No, it's Judy Garland this time", replied Janey.
"Janey, you know I love you, don't you?" asked Doris, who's confidence was lowered by her son's behaviour.
"Of course I do!" cried Janey, "why do you ask that?"
"It's just, I feel like the family was not like it used to be. I don't know. I'm just been silly old Doris".
"Of course I know that, and I love you too!"
"I will do anything for you, Janey. Anything".
"And are you happy with your life?"
"Of course I am - I've got you, Michael and my grandmother. I've got friends", replied Janey, thinking of her boyfriend.
"I'm so glad to hear that".
There was silence from the two from that point, until the song finished.
"What was my father like?" asked Janey.
Janey's father had died eight years before, so the last time she saw him was before he went to war, when Janey was two.
"Your father was a wonderful man", replied a proud Doris, "and I hope he's looking down on you now, thinking 'that's my daughter', with pride!"
"He died for his country".
"He did. He died for us, which makes him so special!"
"When was that photograph taken?" asked Janey, pointing to the mantle piece.
"That photograph of your father was taken a few weeks before he was killed. The army sent it over to me. They said that before your father died, he wanted this photograph to be kept on our mantlepiece for us to always remember him. He never wanted you to forget him".
"And I never have", said Janey, looking at the photograph.
"I think he's up there somewhere right now", said Doris, "and he's making sure that we're happy. He'll be watching Michael right now, making sure that he makes the right choices. I'm sure of it".
Funnily enough, Michael walked through the door.
"And where have you been?" asked Winnie.
"I...I...nowhere", replied Michael, "I just wanted to apologise for today".
Doris stood up and gave her son a cuddle.
"I knew you would make the right decision", said Doris, "I just knew it".
© Copyright 2016 declan mckimm. All rights reserved.