I lower my gaze to find a tiny creature walking across my lap. I put my finger against its two fragile legs to hold on to it but it escapes my grip and travels along the map it has created in its little mind, trying to reach its final destination.

The three layered piece of red velvet cake wears a thick coat of cream cheese frosting. The cake that’s resting warmly on my paper plate, the cake that has a clear view of the open sky.

I put my plate down on the swaying grass, away from the ant. I lay down on the grass and watch as the clouds make their way across the sapphire sky.

There’s children all around me, celebrating getting older. I should have said ‘no’ when my sister invited me to her daughter’s birthday party. I don’t want to be here.

I block out the voices around me, children running, laughing, yelling. Though joyful, they remind me of my childhood and all the places I went wrong growing up. Then why am I always around children? Maybe it’s the universe playing a sick joke on me or maybe it’s me saying ‘I would love to’ when being invited to a child’s birthday party.

I hear the snickering noises before I feel my body being pushed forward by tiny hands.
“BOO!” they exclaim in unison.
I turn around laughing as they search through the field, finding someone else to scare.
Youth,
I wonder where mine went.

I exhale seeing the little cloud escape from my mouth and disappear before reaching the sky.

I reach for my plate of cake, you can’t leave a birthday party without eating the cake. And as I bring the plate back into my lap I realize the ant has discovered its final destination and is claiming it as its own.

A small smile spreads across my face.


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