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A Look Inside the Story
Kelly awoke at first light, as was her custom, quickly tossing her bed covers to the side. She rose up and planted her feet on the floor for the first time as an eighteen year old. It was a big day for her and it only took a moment for her to remember why.
Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me!
It had been a long wait or so seemed, now that it had arrived, it seemed to her she’d just turned sweet sixteen. She also reflected back on the morning when she awakened as a teenager for the first time. However, at eighteen, she knew she could finally stop pretending that she was of legal age. She could vote now,
Too bad, there aren’t any elections today for me to exercise my rights.
Teachers and other adults in her life had often commented on her level of maturity for as long as she could remember. She reluctantly agreed with their opinions most of the time but she hated feeling obligated to act like a grownup. She felt that her latest boyfriend Marcus was very mature for his age, which was part of the attraction she felt for him. He never minded when she acted out in childish ways.
Despite achieving today’s milestone, she reminded herself that there were still three more years of waking up in the mornings before she was old enough to walk into a bar (legally) and order a glass of Chablis. She reflected optimistically,
I only have to wait until after midnight the night before, so… two years plus one day less than a year to go.
Ordering a drink in a bar wasn’t that important to her but knowing she could if she wished was very important as it satisfied a need within her. She wasn’t certain why; maybe it proved to others that she’d reached maturity so they’d stop making such a fuss about it and reminding her so often.
Free, white, and twenty-one… yeah, that’ll be the day.
Apart from it being her birthday, it was also just another school day and she tiptoed down the hall to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She inspected her face in the mirror as she did first thing every morning, looking for imperfections. Her mother Nadine Washington had endured a severe case of teenaged acne and one of the greatest gifts Kelly ever received had been a photo taken of mother when she was fourteen. Other than that slight sparkle in her eye that signified the achievement of her latest age milestone, she didn’t think she looked any older and not a single zit.
She splashed the remaining sleep out of her eyes and then washed her face thoroughly. A few minor blemishes from her acne remained on her mother to that day and Kelly didn’t want that to happen to her. Her stepfather also influenced her morning ritual and she thought of him as she applied countless brushstrokes to her teeth. She didn’t think of Phillip as her stepfather and never had.
Once, he had called her into the bathroom to scold her for not putting the cap back on the toothpaste. His remark about finding a smothered roach inside a tube of Crest one day had been all that was necessary.
She turned around and started filling the bathtub. Satisfied with the water temperature coming from the faucet, she headed to the kitchen to get the coffee machine working. On her way back, she passed the door to her parents’ bedroom and paused to listen. She suspected they might have awakened but the sounds of water in the hallway bathroom hid all indications either way. She wanted to rush inside and announce to them that she wasn’t a kid anymore, but growing up with sexually active parents had taught her to always knock first.
Nah, I’ll just let them sleep… or whatever.
Fifteen minutes later, she was dressed and waiting out in front of her house for Marcus to swing by and pick her up. His first words about how much she’d aged overnight earned him a punch in the arm.
"What a wonder day this is," she told God.