#80 Happy Birthday

by Lena Toporikova

Heidi, my Rottweiler, hid under the bed, cuddled up to her teddy bear. I braced myself for an hour of howling and whining.

I remembered Heidi’s first fireworks, the day before my sixth birthday. The fireworks booms were echoing throughout our small town while spectators enjoyed sparkling cascades of white, red and green against the dark sky. The moment the first fireworks crashed overhead, Heidi ran back home, jumped at the door and broke the screen.

We had to go home early because of her but I could see red fireworks fading into the sky from the window in my room as I was changing into my pajamas.

That night I woke up from sudden pain between my legs. “Daddy, is that you?” I was crying. “It is hurting, daddy.”

“It’s okay, princess. Daddy loves you,” he said pushing his weight on me. New waves of pain pierced through my body. I shut my eyes tight and saw stars, red and yellow, just like fireworks from hours ago.

I screamed. Somewhere in the house Heidi howled.

I begged him to stop.

He pushed harder.

I screamed louder.

Heidi kept howling.

Suddenly, it was over. Daddy rolled off me and left. Soon after, Heidi climbed into my bed. I pressed against her warm body and hugged her tightly, letting my trembles subside.

Twelve years later, my dog and I still hated fireworks. When Heidi pushed her teddy bear into my lap I hugged her, happy it was finally over.

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