An Uncommon Gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's the best day of the year for Alice, but it isn't as great as it seems. It's raining, and Alice doesn't expect to have fun.Just as she thinks her day's boring enough, something disappointing happens Soon enough she learns that her birthday isn't as gloomy as it seems. Read on to find out what hapens on her special day.

Submitted: October 09, 2012

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Submitted: October 09, 2012



It was raining heavily. Alice sat by the window, trying to concentrate on her storybook. But on a day like this, she couldn't. Today was her birthday, though it didn't feel any different. With weather like this, Alice felt gloomier than ever She was fourteen now, but there was nothing she found so great about it. She had hoped to go out with her parents today to buy some of her longed for books, but tat was out of the question now. And tomorrow would be another ordinary school day. TOday was ruined, Alcie thought sadly.

Just then, her mother entered the room. "Good morning Alice," she said, smiling. "Happy Birthday!"

"Thanks, mum," said Alice, trying to smile back. "Good morning."

" I have something for you over here. Open it and see," said her mother, handing her a small yellow present. Alice opened it carefully, trying not to tear the wrapping paper. Inside it she found a book-the very book she had been longing for since last month. Her eyes brightened up at the sight of it. "Ooh, thanks mum," she said gratefully.

"You're welcome, dear," said her mother. "I'm glad you like it. But there's a bit of bad news too. Jennifer and Alex won't be able to come today. Your aunt isn't well. They called today morning and told me to wish you instead. But don't worry, dear, since they aren't coming, we can go out if it stops raining. If not, we can always order dinner if you like."

"Oh," said Alice, as her spirits fell. "That's alright," she added, trying not to sound crestfallen.

"I know how you're feeling, but cheer up, I've mad special breakfast," replied her mother. "Get dressed and come down quickly."

"Alright," said Alice, as her mother got up to leave. It will never stop raining, she thought. And even if it does, what good is it if my cousins aren't around?

Alice came down in ten minutes, neatly dressed with her hair tied back in a ponytail. Her father was sitting in his usual armchair, reading the newspaper. "Happy birthday, Alice!" he said, hugging his daughter. Just then, her eight-year-old brother came running into her arms.

"Happy birthday, sis!" he said, grinning. "I have something for you which I made/ Here's a birthday card for you."

"Why, thank you, Peter, it's wonderful," said Alice, accepting the card appreciatively. She felt happier that her brother had done a small thing for her on her birthday.

"Finish your breakfast soon, children," said their mother. "We'll be going out to buy some books for your sister, now that the rain is stopping. Finish up and we'll start getting ready."

Alice looked up immediately. It had indeed stopped raining. It was still a little cloudy, but apparently it wouldn't rain any more today, she thought as her spirits rose. She finished her breakfastquickly and went upstairs to bathe and get dressed.

"Oh Alice, wait a minute," called her mother. "There's  a new dress on the sofa for you. I believe you'll look pretty in it. I bought it just yesterday, for you to wear. Take it and put it on after your bath."

"Alright, mum," answered Alice, taking the packet with her up the stairs. She decided to take a peek inside the packet just once. She found a lovely yellow chiffon frock inside. "Pretty," Alice thought as she skipped up the stairs.

Alice was dwonstairs in no time. She lookedperfect in her frock with her straight brown hair tied with a yellow ribbon to match. "I love the dress," she told her mother as she came out. Her mother was wearing a white top with a black skirther curly brown hair in a ponytail. 

"I'm glad you do,"she replied. "Come on, daddy and Peter are in the car. The sooner we come home, the better. Let's go."

They all reached the mall at half past eleven. The sky was still grey, but Alice did not bother. She was no longer depressed about the weather. She had come to do what she had planned to do, and nothign could spoil her day outside now. "I don't think today  could be any worse," Alice thought, thinking of Jennifer and Alex, and her aunt.

Alice's target was the bookstore.  The four of them went there first, Alice almost tugging them along. Entering the  bookstore made Alice feel at home. She considered books  to be her own world, the setting, the atmosphere, and most of all, the characters. Often, books helped her forget all her worries. Alice scanend each section of books, until she finally found the teenage section. Looking through the rackes as har as she could, she couldn't seem to find that book. Where could it be?she thought. She had seen the book in that exact same rack last week. Could it have been sold out? "No, it can't be sold out so quickly," Alice tried to reason with herself, half-inclined to panic. Though she knew the book was in tremendous demand, she didn't want to believe it wasn't in that rack at the moment.

"May I help you, ma'am?" asked a woman in a red shirt. She seemed to be a sign of hope.

"Um...could you tell me where I can find the book 'Sisters' by Danielle Steel?" Alice asked apprehensively.

"Danielles Steel? Let me see..." The woman looked thorugh the books. " 'Sisters', you said? No, I'm afraid we're all out of stock. But don't worry, you can always come back tomorrow."

Alice was horror-struck. "Out of stock?" she asked, half-heatedly.

"Yes, I'm afraid," the woman replied. "YOu can try some other books by Danielle Steel if  you like," she encouraged.

"No, it's fine," Alice answered, as her face fell. She walked over to where her mother was standing, dejected. She wanted to whimper. "They're all out, mum," she said.

"All out""her mother said, surprised. "That's a terrible blow for you, poor dear. It's okay, we'll buy it some other day then, okay? Why don't you look for something else?"

"Alright," sadi Alice, sighing. She went back yo the rack. She found a few books, but didn't feel like buying them just then. Not finding a long-craved book on her birthday was bad luck, she thought. Just then, she wanted to sit down and cry. Most people would have laughed at the idea, but Alice didn't care. Books mattered to her a great deal. Books meant everything to her. Finally, Alice came out of the bookstore having bought a few others which she thought she'd enjoy. Her parents decided to have lunch at the mall itself, to cheer her up. Peter was, of course, excited. But nothing could make Alice feel better. Around half past-one, Alice and her parents were about to enter the restaurant, when suddely Alice hears someone calling her.

"Alice! Hey, wait!"

Alice turned around to find her best friend, Lucy running towards her.

"Lucy? Why, how unexpected!" Alice said as Lucy caught up with her. Their parents were already engaged in a conversation.

"Happy birthday, Alice!" said Lucy. "I was out shopping, wondering what to buy you as a birthday gift. Before I forget, let me give it to you right now," she said as she rummaged in her bag. She took out a book and handed it to Alice. "I knew you wanted this, so I bought it right away. It was the last copy left in the bookstore."

Alice stared at the book. It was exactly what she thought she'd never get as a birthday present. And here was her friend, who had managed to get the last copy of it just for her! Alice immediately broke into a smile.

"Lucy, I can never thank you enough!" she exclaimed. :I thought I'd never get to read this," she added, hugging her best friend.

"Glad you like it," replied Lucy. "I just managed to grab it before another woman sighed and walked off."

Alice laughed. "Thank you so much for cheering me up; when I went ot the store it was already gone. Who would have known that I'd get it from someone as special as you!"  

© Copyright 2018 Chandreyee Basu. All rights reserved.

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