The Possibility of Dreams

There was something about her. Something magnetic. I was drawn to her like a moth to a light. Maybe it was her fearless personality, the way she was the first to jump into a pool of icy water. She didn't care what they said about her, she simply flipped them off and continued her day. She had a tattoo of a moon on her back, but she didn't like to show it off. And when she laughed, she radiated an energy unparalleled by any other girl I had ever met. She was beautiful.

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2. Birthday Morning

When I wake up, something smells different. Not bad, just different from the flowery perfume I spray my room with. The smell is warm and I breathe it in deeply.

And then I remember. Today's my eighteenth birthday.

I sigh happily and curl up in my pale yellow sheets. I pull my knees up to my breasts and hug my pillow tightly, squeezing my eyes shut. 

I let myself rest a minute before pulling back the sheets and climbing out of bed. I glance in the mirror, looking for any physical change in my body, now that I'm a legal adult. In the mirror, I see someone happy. A happy, smiling, girl with blonde waves with a touch of brown. Her blue eyes are  alight with a spark of mischievousness. She looked radiant.

It only makes me happier to see what I've become. Eighteen years I've spent working to make myself as perfect as possible. I'm certainly not flawless, but I can't help but be proud of who I am. 

Smiling, I trot happily downstairs to discover what the new smell was, wafting into my room when I woke up.

In the kitchen, Donna stands over the stove, her back to me, messing with something. On the table, I see a bouquet of lilies along with two wrapped presents and a card. The table's been set with Donna's best plates, and I notice that she's already prepared some coffee for me.

"Oh, well, you're up late!" Remarks Donna. I cross the kitchen to her side. "Glad you slept in, baby doll, you were up late."

I laugh quietly. "What're you making?"

"Ah! That I can't tell you. It's a surprise!" She says, shooing me away.

 I smile and make my way over to the table, sitting at the place she set out for me. When I sit down, I pull my knees up to my chest to warm myself, despite the hot July weather. 

I patiently wait at the table for Donna to finish whatever she's doing and mess with the place mat.

A few minutes later, Donna bustles over to the table with a plate, covered by a napkin. She looks excited, and I can tell when she sits down that she can hardly wait for me to see what she's made.

Donna dramatically uncovers the plate to reveal a pile of what looks like puffy pancakes, only much smaller. On top, a blanket of powdered sugar smothers them.

"Oh, It looks so good!" I squeal, excited.

"They're called beignets," She says, loading them onto my plate and taking a few for herself. "Try them!"

I pick one up between my fingers and bite into it. It's hot and the sugar seems to melt in my mouth. "Donna, this is amazing!"

"Oh, I knew you'd love them!"

"Thank you so much!" I say, picking up another. 

"Well, I just found out about them and wanted to try it out," She says, trying to pass it off casually, but I can tell she was just itching for my birthday to come so she could have an excuse to bake something so unhealthy. 

"Open your presents!" She urges, before I even have the chance to finish my second.

"Which one first?" I ask, eyeing the presents excitedly. There's two, one small, about the size of a jewelry box, and another, much bigger than the first.

"This one!" She cries, grabbing the bigger one and shoving it toward me.

I unwrap it slowly as Donna watches, in plain agony at the slow speed I'm going at.

When I open it, I feel tears well in my eyes. A photo album, from before my parents were killed. I open it, and on the first page I see my mother in the hospital in Maine, holding a bundle in her arms. Behind her is a man I recognize to be my Father. It's the day I was born, eighteen years ago today. 

There's a few more pictures of me in the hospital, and then the pictures move on. Me at the pool with my Father, Me on a bike with my parents on the back, laughing. There's a picture of me sitting on the floor, Squeaky walking in between my legs, her white tail trailing my chin. Us at the mountains, at the beach. A photo album full of me and my parents.

I don't even realize that I'm silently crying until I reach up to pull the hair back from my face and my hand comes back wet. Donna stretches her hand across the table and enfolds her hand, beginning to wrinkle, around my hand, rubbing circles on the back.

"There's more," She adds quietly, gesturing to the box.

I look over the photo album into the box and see a small piece of paper. Donna reaches in and hands it to me.

For a second tears blur my vision and I can't make out what's on it. But it's only cleared for a second before the tears return. It's a check. 87,658 pounds. 

"It's from your parents," Donna explains. "They saved it for you. I imagine it would've been much more, but..."

"Oh my God," I choke out. I can't believe they did this. "Thank you," I whisper.

"Baby doll, I only transferred the money. I had nothing to do with it," Donna says, but I wasn't talking to her.

Once I'm ready, I move on to the next present, from Donna. She's sitting on the edge of her seat.

I unwrap it with much more speed than before, taking no care for the blue wrapping paper. Just like I thought, it was a small cardboard box.

"Open it!" Donna encourages.

I slowly lift the lid of the box to reveal a shiny metal key attached to a ring and controller.

"Oh my God!" I squeal.

Donna squeals with me and laughs happily. "Go and check outside!"

I stare at her for a second in utter disbelief before sprinting to the door and throwing it open. Outside, in the driveway, is a brand-new, black 2010 Honda accord.

"You didn't!" I shout at Donna, meeting me from behind.

She just laughs and hugs me.

"Thank you so much!" I cry, hugging her back.

"Come on, go get dressed and we'll take it for a drive," She laughs, sending me upstais with a gentle pat on the back.

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