The birthday card, which had somehow miraculously appeared on her dresser, was concealed in a plain white envelope, the only evidence as to who it was from was her instantly recognizable handwriting on the front. In that looping, somewhat calligraphy-like handwriting was a single word: Emily. It lay on her dresser like a beacon, screaming out the love that it contained. Emily sat on her bed, staring at the white square, tapping her fingers against themselves, trying to keep herself from rushing over and ripping it open like a rabid four-year-old on her birthday. But after five minutes, the feeling still hadn’t passed; Emily stood, still restraining herself and walked (slowly) over to the dresser. Ever-so-carefully, she opened the envelope, half-expecting a big, extravagant surprise. But all that was in there was a lone sheet of white stationery paper with three forget-me-nots in the top left-hand corner. In that same handwriting it read:
I love you. There was also a big arrow pointing to the left of the paper, telling her to turn it over. Quickly, Emily flipped it over. Meet me in Jefferson Park at midnight for your extra-special birthday present. Owen. P.S. I love you.
Fingers trembling, Emily dropped the paper, letting it slowly float to the floor like a rather over-sized, white, square leaf. Why was she all of a sudden so nervous? Flustered (as she could be sometimes), she absently shoved a strand of light blonde hair behind her ear, the movement so automatic and habitual, she rarely even noticed she was doing it. Settling back down on her bed, Emily gazed at the clock, seeing but not registering the time. All that was going through her head was what on earth could Owen have for her at midnight?
It wasn’t until her mother banged on the door, yelling that she would be late that Emily even remembered she was supposed to be going to school. Well, no time to think about the extra-special birthday surprise; Emily grabbed her bag and headed out the door. Rushing down the steps, her mother looked up from her position on the couch, Bible laying in her lap, coffee right beside her. It was a scene she’d been seeing ever since she was four years old.
“Slow down, honey, you don’t want to kill yourself running down those steps.