Title: The Life of Violet Bell: Happy Birthday
Author: Kayla DaCosta
Summary: A young girl is having problems with her mother, and her best friend helps her through it.
Disclaimer: Just because I write this does NOT mean I feel this way about my mother!!
"Stupid bangs, stay straight!" I yelled into the mirror. Today was my twenty-first birthday, and I wanted everything to be perfect. I used a fine tooth comb once more over my bangs, and then ruffed up the rest of my hair. I stood back to examine myself completely in the full length mirror. I was very happy with the look I had achieved.
I was wearing a purple t-shirt with a black vest, and I had tons of colorful beaded bracelets. I put a black fishnet glove with cut-off fingers on my left hand, and slipped a Jack Skellington ring on the middle finger of my right hand. I placed my favorite vampire-smile necklace on my neck, and examined my purple skinny jeans and black tutu to make sure they were straight. Then I bent down, tied up the white laces on my favorite black hightop converse, smeared on some pink lip gloss, and walked out the bathroom door. I was feeling extremely confident and happy, and nothing could screw this day up. Or so I thought...
I walked into the living room and froze. I wanted to turn around and hide in my room, but my feet felt glued to the floor. I didn't know what to do, how I should feel, or anything. I hadn't seen her in forever. I tried not to make a sound so that she wouldn't notice me. It didn't work.
"Hello, Violet. Happy birthday." She got up and started to walk towards me. The voice inside was screaming, Run away! Run away! But my feet wouldn't move. She gave me a hug. I cringed.
"Hi, Mom," I greeted her weakly. She let me go, and I tried to walk out the door quickly, but my sister stopped me.
"Violet, don't just leave. Stay and talk to Mom. She came to see you for your birthday." I glared at Stacey as she said that to me. I probably could have burned holes through her head with the look I was giving her. I sat down on the couch, crossed my arms, and slouched all the way back. I wanted to send the message that I was NOT happy.
"So, Violet," she started off, “how've you been?"
"Fine, I guess."
"Good." I kept my eyes on the floor. I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of actually having a conversation. I hadn't seen her in a year. This was sooner than I had hoped to. She started getting frustrated.
"Violet, how am I supposed to see how you are doing when you keep brushing me off with one word answers?"
"Well, maybe if you would have actually talked to me once in a while this past year, you'd know how everything was going with me, and we wouldn't be sitting here right now."
"Vi!" Stacey yelled, "That is no way to talk to your mother!"
"Well, that's no way to treat a daughter. And you know what? Don't talk to me like that, Stacey, you don't own me." And, with that, I stormed out of the house. There was no way I was staying in there for a second longer.
I got in my pickup and drove over to my friend Toby's. I knocked on the door, a bit harder than usual. He came and answered.
"You ok?" he asked. I instantly broke down crying. I couldn't hold in my anger any longer.
"I saw my mom. She came to tell me happy birthday," I finally managed to get out in between the sobs. He put his arm around me and took me over to the couch so I could sit down. I sat and cried for a couple of minutes while he just waited. I finally calmed myself down and looked up at him.
"I want you to close your eyes," he told me, "and take a deep breath." I did what he told me, and it made me feel a little better.
"Ok, now I want you to tell me what we are going to do to celebrate your birthday that will make you forget all about you mom." I sat and thought for a moment. Then I finally shrugged and answered, "In-N-Out?"
He laughed, grabbed his keys and his wallet, and said, "Let's go, I'm treating you." I smiled and followed him out to his little black VW bug. He held the passenger door for me as I got in. He closed the door and walked around to the other side. After he closed the door, he looked at me and smiled at me childishly.
"What?" I asked him.
"You have makeup streaming down your face, for one thing."
"Oh, well, thanks for telling me now! Jeez, I could have walked into the restaurant like this!" I looked all over his car for some tissue or something, but I couldn't find one.
"Here." He handed me a Burger King napkin. I tried to use it, but it didn't seem to do much. He saw me struggling and giggled. He pulled out his water bottle and poured a little bit onto the napkin as he said, "Let me give you some help with that."
He took the napkin and gently wiped my face. I closed my eyes and relaxed. After he finished, he handed me a stick of black eyeliner. "In case you need to, like, re-blacken your eyes, or something."
"Where did you get this?" I laughed, "What the heck are you doing with eyeliner?"
"My sister left it in here." He started the car and looked at me. He smiled and said, "It's not like you need it though." Then he pulled out of the driveway. I looked at my face in the visor mirror, and then looked at the stick of thick, black, eyeliner. I placed it on the dash and said, "Yeah, I guess you're right." He smiled really big and said, "I know I'm right." I rolled my eyes and smiled. He always breaks up the tension like that.
After we ate, he drove me back to his house so I could get my truck. I got out of his car and started to walk over to mine, when he called me back over. He was holding something behind his back.
"You're birthday's not over, you know," he said with a big smile.
"Look, you treated me to the most amazing lunch ever, you don't need to give me anything else," I told him as I walked back over to my truck. He took my hand and pulled me back toward him. He kissed my cheek, slipped a small package into my hand, and whispered, "Happy birthday, Vi."
I opened the package to reveal a little stuffed penguin with a big purple bow. I tried to hold back my tears; memories of when I was a child came rushing into my head as I held the small penguin in my trembling hands. I looked back up at Toby. He was smiling.
"What made you buy this?" I asked, my voice quivering. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I asked your mom."
At that, I almost dropped it on the floor. I couldn't believe it.
"How could you do that? What would make you ask my mom? I can't believe you." I looked away and started to walk back toward my truck, but he grabbed my hand and pulled me back again. He took my face in his hands and said, "Violet, you are my best friend. We've been best friends for 3 years now. But, ever since you and your mom got into that fight last year, you haven't been the same. I tend to catch you with this pained look on you face. You dress even more hardcore than before. You've secluded yourself, and it's harder for me to break through to you.
"I ran into your mom while I was at the mall looking for the perfect gift for you. I asked her how things were going, and we talked for a few minutes. I could tell that she wanted to ask about you, but she seemed nervous. I asked her what she thought I should get you, and she smiled and asked me if I had thought about getting you a penguin. When I told her no, she pulled this one out of her shopping bag. I told her that she should get it for you, but she wouldn't let me give it back. She told me to tell you happy birthday for her."
I tried to pull my face out of his hands. I stood there for a moment, and Toby stood motionlessly by my side. I walked toward my truck once more and yelled over my shoulder, "Thanks for everything, Toby."
I got in my truck, slammed the door, and tossed my penguin onto the passenger seat. Toby came over to my door and knocked on the window.
"What?" I demanded as I rolled down my window.
"She loves you, you know." I gave him a puzzled look. He shook his head and clarified, "Your mom loves you." I paused for a second and looked down at the steering wheel. "You know that, right?" he added.
"Yeah, I know," I finally managed to squeak out. He smiled, pulled my face over to his, kissed my nose and said, "I love you. You’re my best friend. Don't ever forget that, OK?" I nodded my head weakly.
"Cheer up," he added as I started my truck, "that's no way to look on your birthday." I smiled and hugged him. Then I whispered in his ear, "I love you too, Toby. You're the greatest friend anyone could ever have."
I rolled up my window and waved at him. As I pulled away and started to drive home, I looked over at my little stuffed penguin. Memories of me and my mom came flooding back. I remembered when she, my penguin, and I would have tea parties together, and I would get her hats, and her gloves, and her long string of pearls, and pretend to be the most sophisticated lady that an eight-year-old could be. I remember nights when my penguin and I would sneak into my parent’s bedroom and climb up on mommy's side of the bed.
I glanced over at that little guy once more and set him upright. Then, before I know it, I was home again. I parked the car and grabbed my little penguin. I fluffed him up, tried to fix his bow, you know, to make him look presentable. I got out of the car and carried him to the house. I opened the door to see that my mom was still there.
"Um, well, I just--" My voice trailed off. I didn't know how to begin to say what I was feeling.
"What is it, Vi?"
I ran over and gave her a big hug. I guess I startled her, because it took her a moment before she hugged me back. I whispered my thanks for the penguin in her ear, and she asked me what I was talking about.
"Toby told me about you guys running into each other at the mall. You could have just given it to me yourself, you know."
"I know," she said," But I thought it would be better this way." I hugged her tighter and her that I was sorry and that I loved her. She answered me back in a quivering voice and said, "I love you, too." I hadn't heard those words from her in so long; it felt good to hear them now. They brought tears to my eyes.
I walked into the restroom to see the damage of what my emotional day had done to my face. As I wiped my eyes and face clean of any stray eyeliner, Stacey came by and tapped my shoulder. I looked over at her and she told me that my mom had a plant or something outside for me. I followed Stacey out the back door. Then, all of the sudden, I heard, "Surprise!"
I looked around at all of the faces. My cousins were there, my aunts and uncles, my friends from work. But, someone was missing.
"Where's Toby?" I asked. Then I felt two arms slowly wrap around my shoulders and I heard, "I'm right here with you. Just like a best friend should be."
I slowly exhaled with relief and asked him, "Who planned all of this?"
"Well," he said, "It was your mom's idea, but I helped a little." I hugged him and then ran over to my mom, to hug her and thank her one more time.
"I know it doesn't make up for this past year, but--"
"Mom, it's OK. Thanks for everything. I love you."
She smiled at me and yelled out, "Now, who’s ready for cake?"
It's a month after the party, and I haven't talked to my mom yet. I'm sitting on my couch in the living room, cell phone in hand. All I have to do is press send, and it'll dial my mom's number. My finger is hovering over the send button. Finally, I click end and dial Toby's number.
"Toby, I can't do it. I just can't."
"Whoa, slow down. What's wrong?"
"I'm trying to call her, but I can't. I'm too scared."
"Vi, we're gonna do this. It's OK; you just need to get it over with."
"I can't get my finger to hit send."
"Do I need to drive over there and do it for you?"
"OK, just call her. You'll be fine."
"Hey, Vi? You're amazing. You can do anything. Remember that, OK?"
"Alright. Call me back when you're done. I'll give you thirty minutes, and then I'm calling you."
"Wait! There are three words missing from this conversation."
"Um... Break a leg?"
"I like eggs?"
"Hmmm... What could they be?"
"OK, OK." He pauses for a moment, takes a deep breath, and then says in a very soothing voice, "I love you, Violet Bell."
I smile and reply, "I love you, too."
"OK, now call her."
I look at the phone. I run and get my penguin for emotional support. I dial her number. Then, drawing as much strength as I can from the words Toby gave me, I press send.
Please, don't answer, please, don't answer, I keep thinking as the phone rings.
Then, I hear her answer.
I swallow hard and say, "Mom?"
"Violet? Hey, Honey, how are you?"
"Good, thanks. I was wondering if you, like, wanted to have lunch with me, or something."
"Really?" I could hear the surprised expression in her voice. "When?"
"I don't know, like, tomorrow, maybe?"
"Yeah, OK. Can I meet you at, like, 12:30?"
"Sure, um, where do you think we should eat?"
"How does Spires sound?"
"Yeah, OK. I'll see you tomorrow then. Bye, Mom."
"I love you."
"I love you, too, Vi. I'll see you tomorrow, k?"
I hang up the phone feeling relieved. I smile for a second, and then dial Toby's number one more time.