“So happy birthday to me.” She started on the bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. No need for a glass. No need to share. No one had said a word that morning in seminar, no happy twenty-second for her. It didn’t matter that a week ago she’d mentioned her birthday while they discussed astrology in verse. It didn’t matter that she’d bought a six-pack for everyone else’s party.
Last year had been different. Jessica, the Production Supervisor at Value Village, had bought a cake from petty cash, and Kelly had blown out the candles during morning break. The other department pricers had insisted on taking her to dinner at Vic’s Pizzeria and, of course, on paying for her first legal can of Oly.
“I know you said you never do anything for your birthday,” Margo had said, shifting an armload of priced clothes from the line to a rolling rack, “but that’s exactly why we have to do something.”
When Kelly had been accepted for grad school, Jessica had bought another cake out of petty cash. The card everyone had signed now hung over Kelly’s desk.
She glanced over the printed poem—one final proofread. The buzzer rang. Could someone have remembered? When she answered the intercom, it turned out to be a pair of Mormon missionaries.
“Just leave me alone.”