Tenth Birthday

I can have any entertainment I want.

I make a list of thirty girls who I wish would be my friends.

A week before my tenth birthday Mom says choose now or I'm choosing.

She chooses a belly dancer. "It'll be fun," my mom says.

"Okay," I say.

The girls arrive, the belly dancer arrives.

Then Dad comes home, late. "Where's Mom?" he asks.

I tell him I don't know.

The girls belly dance.

They don't notice that Mom's not here

and no one knows where the food is.

Mom comes in the front door and passes out

in the entrance hall.

Dad tells the girls to keep dancing.

The girls stand around my mom while my dad whispers to her.

Even the belly dancer watches.

Mom goes to bed.

Dad orders pizza.

I ask, "What about the cake?"

We put candles in the mushrooms.

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