Flash Fiction Theme – Happy Birthday
Cyndy hurries down the street, going over the list of things she needs for the party in her head. She is turning twenty tomorrow, and she wants her party to be perfect. She can’t wait to see her friends. She hasn’t seen some of them in a few years and is delighted when they told her they would all come. Now it’s the day before, and she has to get everything she needs.
Going into the bakery, she takes a deep breath, enjoying the sweet smells of the cakes, pies, and other sweets. Cyndy walks over to the glass and peers in at the delights made by her favorite baker, Mr. Rodney. His daughter, Claire, smiles when she sees Cyndy and walks over to her.
She taps on the top of the case to catch her attention and smiles when the young woman looks up at her. “Hi, Cyndy. Are you excited about your birthday?”
Cyndy nods and leans closer. “My friends are coming and I can’t wait to see them. Some I haven’t even seen since middle school. It’s going to be crazy.”
“That sounds like a lot of fun. So, what kind of cake are we looking at buying today? Turning twenty is a huge deal.” Claire grabs a book with all of their cake designs and hands it to Cyndy. “Why don’t you grab a seat and I’ll come over in a minute to take the cake order?”
Cyndy grins and hugs the book to her chest. “That’ll be perfect. Oh, but I’d like to order a cup of hot coffee and one of your cheese Danishes. I can’t get enough of those.”
“You got it!”
After a couple of hours, the cake is ordered, Danish eaten, coffee gone, and Cyndy is on her way to the next store to pick up fun party plates. Last, she goes to the balloon shop to find the balloons of her dreams.
A man had approached her a few weeks ago, telling her about these special balloons. Balloons that will lift anyone’s spirits.
Cyndy reads the address again before entering the building, hoping she is in the right one. The buildings all seem to look alike, especially since she has never been in this neighborhood before. Looking around, balloons of all shapes and sizes take up almost every space of the room. Excited, Cyndy looks around, walking between the balloons, figuring out which shape she’ll want to order.
“May I help you?” an older voice echoes behind her.
Cyndy turns and faces the elderly man she met a few weeks ago. The man’s sweet smile made Cyndy smile. The man’s eyes twinkle when he realizes it’s Cyndy.
“It’s great to see you again, Cyndy,” the old man says. “Do you remember me?”
“I remember you, Ralph,” Cyndy says excitedly. She waves her hands at the balloons around her. “These balloons are great. I definitely think I want the gold and silver star ones for eighteen people.”
“Perfect! Let’s ring you up and I will deliver them to your place tomorrow.” Ralph ushers Cyndy to the front desk to finish the order.
“Oh, you’re going to deliver them? That is so nice of you, thank you.” Cyndy paid and left.
The next day, Cyndy decorates her house in streamers, fun colorful plates, and cooks the appetizers. By noon, the appetizers were ready, the food almost done, and the house was decorated.
She leaves after the rest of the food cooks and rushes over to pick up her birthday cake. She glances at her watch and hurries to her car to get back home.
Ralph will drop off the balloons in fifteen minutes and then ten minutes after that, her guests will show up for her party. She has to make sure everything is done and perfect before her friends get there.
Ralph shows up just a minute after Cyndy gets home. They chat a bit and Ralph helps Cyndy put the balloons inside the house. He ties them to each chair in the back around the table. They tie the biggest gold star to Cyndy’s chair, a gift from Ralph.
“Thank you, Ralph.” She touches the balloon, hesitant.
“Don’t worry. It’s different from the others.” He winks and heads off to make another delivery.
Cyndy sits on her sofa, flipping through the channels as she waits for her friends to come. After waiting for ten minutes, she stands and anxiously paces in front of her TV. She stops and sucks in her breath when the doorbell rings.
Cyndy runs to the door and throws it open. She smiles and lets her guests come in, telling them hello and thanking them for coming. Her friends say hi and walk inside, not really looking at her. She shuts the door and counted eighteen.
She takes them in the backyard where her table is set up; the balloons swaying in the breeze. Cyndy tells them to get some food and grab a seat. She does the same and joins them at the end of the table.
“I am so glad to see you all. It has been so long since we’ve seen each other, hasn’t it?” She laughs and looks around the table. “You all look great.”
They don’t talk to her and just eat. None of them will make eye contact with her, having been the ones who stopped talking to her all those years ago. Cyndy finishes and cleans up, telling everyone to enjoy themselves for a moment. She brings out the cake and sets it down, lighting it, the clown face laughing as it looks at each guest.
“Yes, it is the same cake from my fourteenth birthday. The one I had to eat with just my parents because suddenly I wasn’t cool enough for you to hang out with.”
She looks at five of the people around the table. She turns her hateful glare to the rest of those sitting at the table. “And my bullies over the years. I couldn’t wait to see if any of you would come to my party.” She lights the candle. “I guess one wish came true.”
Cyndy stares down at her cake, her smile spreading until she is grinning like a fool. “I wish…”
She looks at each person at the table. Everyone looks at one another, then nervously back at Cyndy. “I wish my enemies would just float away.” She leans down and blows out the candle.
Her guests laugh at her wish, and stand up, ready to leave.
“You were always weird, Cyndy, and that’s why we stopped hanging out with you.”
“And you were easy to bully because no one liked you. Doubt anyone likes you now, either.”
Cyndy doesn’t say anything for a moment. “Don’t forget your balloons. These are special balloons. Ralph, the owner of the balloon shop called Lift Them Away. He says they bring people luck and bring anyone’s spirits up.”
They all untie their balloons and hold on to the tight. They turn towards the back door. Cyndy follows them, her eyes watching each person. Once they all step outside and are no longer under anything, the balloons tug up.
The eighteen guests, to their horror, are lifted off the ground. The balloons tug harder, lifting them higher into the sky. Cyndy shields her face from the sun and watches as the balloons lift them up into the air and doesn’t stop.
“They worked, Ralph, thank you.” She turns and faces the older man as he appears inside her house.
“Of course, Cyndy. Remember, if you ever need to lift someone up, come to the shop and I’ll help you out.” Ralph nods his head and vanishes.
Cyndy lets out a happy sigh and turns back to watch until she can no longer see her bullies and ex-friends vanish into the clouds.