“Rattled and Popped”

Gabriela waved her hands furiously at the group of fifteen people standing in her living room; each of them wearing a multi-colored party hat tightly fixated under their necks. She firmly placed her finger on her lips as she heard the keys jingle in the door. She faced the door, her heart beating rapidly with unbridled anticipation, and smoothed out her yellow, floral printed dress. As the door opened, the lights came crashing on, clouds of sparkling confetti ejaculated from people’s hands, noisemakers rattled and popped, and everyone threw up their arms yelling “SURPRISE!”

But there stood Gaby’s boyfriend Ben, his arm slung around the waist of a busty, long-legged brunette.

All the joy melted off Gaby’s face, her arm still holding up the noisemaker as it rattle and popped one last time. Her arms fell like dead branches at her sides and she let the noisemaker crash to the floor. The room was heavy with silence; you could almost hear the dust gathering under the couch. Gaby stared at Ben and the Brunette, her eyes darting back and forth between them like a hummingbird. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, waiting for someone to say something, anything. Outside on the street, bits and pieces of conversations were heard through the open windows as people walked past the apartment. Ben opened his mouth, his arm still frozen in place around the Brunette’s waist, but no noise escaped; just a small exhale. His green eyes never faltered from focusing on Gabys, but they offered no remorse, no sorrow, no regret; they just sat there, empty like an abandoned warehouse.

Gaby took a feeble step forward.

“Happy Fucking Birthday.” she said, no inflection in her voice. She turned and walked down the hallway, the party hat still attached to her head. 

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