#87 Happy Birthday, Baby

by Siân O’Hara

Mary stands on the bridge, squinting slightly against the sunlight reflecting off the bay below. In her hands she holds a box, wrapped in pretty paper with a bow glued on top. Her fingers stroke the edges, appreciating the crispness of the folds.

“Do you remember how we used to come here?” She says. “Almost every weekend it seemed. You loved to watch the boats sailing in the bay. You’d have been here even when it was raining, if I’d let you.”

Mary smiles.

“You were so little then. My baby girl.”

Her shoulders droop slightly. “Some days I wake up and forget you’re gone, forget that when the phone rings it won’t be you calling to ask how to make lasagne, or get ketchup out in the wash. You were just starting to grow up, to become the beautiful woman I knew you’d be.” She sighs. “But you’d always have been my baby, no matter how old you got.”

Mary tilts her face up to the sun, letting the breeze dry the tears that are creeping down her cheeks.

“I remember.” She whispers. “Even if it seems like we’ve all moved on. I wanted you to know I remember.”

She opens the box, takes a handful of the rose petals inside and throws them from the bridge, watching how they flutter in the breeze, get caught in flurries as they spiral downwards, until eventually she cannot see where they have gone.

“Happy Birthday, baby.”


Unknown said...

This is nice, but I'm finding this talking-to-a-dead-person-or-person-otherwise-not-really-around to be a bit of a popular theme. But this one is a good one.

Unknown said...

lol Shona's right, that IS a popular theme, it seems. i like the fine touches in this story, like the way someone took the time and care to glue a bow on the box. and the calls the girl used to make give a clear impression of the kind of person she was, someone that would indeed be sorely missed. Good story.

Another Government Employee said...

There is something about the image that speaks memorial flowers.

Laura Howe said...

Touching story, nicely done.