(WP) Family Secrets

(WP) Family Secrets

               It was, finally, my eighteenth birthday. But unlike most teens, I wasn’t excited, or happy.

               I was nervous. My heart was pounding in my chest, my pulse fluttering, and I clenched my fists, closing my eyes and taking several deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

               I’d long suspected that my family was something else, something other than a group of ordinary people. We mostly kept to ourselves, and when I was young, I didn’t think much of it; it was just our way of life. But as I grew older, I longed for the answers to all of my questions, an explanation that laid out reasons that I couldn’t have friends over, and don’t even get me started on the dating scene.

               Today, on my first day of being legal, I would demand answers, refusing to let them manipulate me or brush it off. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

               I woke up unusually early, a golden square of sunlight hitting me in the face. Not wanting to greet officially becoming an adult, I rolled over and tried my best to go back to sleep.

               A few hours later, there was a series of knocks on my bedroom door, waking me up for real this time.

               “Honey, can we come in?”

               “Yeah, give me just a second to get dressed,” I mumbled, not wanting to see my family in nothing but a tank top and boxer shorts. I grabbed the first pieces of clothing off of my floor: a cranberry sweater and black jeggings.

               “Okay, come on in!”

               The door swung open, its hinges shrieking in protest. On the other side of my door were my mother, father, and two sisters, holding a giant frosted cake between them. ‘Happy birthday, Dottie!” was written on the top in orange icing, with a picture of me as a grinning toddler under it.

               It was mortifying and sweet all at the same time, and some of the tension, knotted in the center of my chest, unraveled slightly.

               “Thank you all,” I said, blushing profusely. Even with this being my birthday, I didn’t like being in the center of attention.

               “We made you German chocolate, like we do every year,” My little sister, Eudora, piped up, giving me a smile. Her freckles looked especially warm in the bright sunlight, and her chestnut hair was in a braid, close to her scalp.

               “With the pecans, like you like,” My other younger sister, Bernice, added, and Mom and Dad were walking inside my room, Dad’s hands stacked with paper plates and plastic forks.

“Why don’t you lay back down, Dottie?” My mother asked, smiling at me. “It’s called breakfast in bed for a reason, after all.”

This had always been our tradition, for as long as I could remember: the family member with the birthday got to lay in bed while everyone else crowded around them, all of us feasting on sugar and carbs until we were ready to greet the day.

Not wanting to disobey my mother, I lay back down, obediently. As usual, I got the first piece, with all the orange frosting.

As I sat with my family in the bright morning sunshine, I noticed a faint, rainbow glitter above each of their heads.

Much to my amazement, I could’ve sworn that I could see the shadows of halos hovering above my family’s heads.

Could it be that perhaps my family were a flock of angels?

**