The Probable Future
Was it any wonder that Jenny was so apprehensive as her daughter’s thirteenth birthday drew near? She so dreaded the day she had already bitten her nails down to the quick, a girlhood habit that reappeared in trying times. Perhaps others forgot their own histories, but Jenny remembered hers only too well. She remembered racing across the cool, dewy grass as though it had happened hours ago. She could instantly bring to mind the trill of the peepers and the way her heart had felt, thumping against her chest as she and Will stood in the parlor, examining the memento case. It was this memory that caused Jenny to stay up all night long on the eve of Stella’s birthday, perched on a chair beside the bed as her daughter slept. It was the fact that thirteen had been reached yet again that left Jenny’s dark hair in knots, her complexion ashen, her nails bitten until her fingertips bled. Let her wake as she was when she closed her eyes. That was all Jenny asked for. That was all she begged for on this March night that was perfectly equal to the day, unique in all the season. Let her be the same sweet girl, unburdened by gifts or sorrow.