FEAR. TREPIDATION. To say they were the only things Kate felt as she tried to eat some breakfast. All the while avoiding direct eye contact with the other table guests. Would be an understatement. She also felt a certain sense of elation, nausea and a whole gamut of conflicting emotions. It was Sunday. It was her birthday. She had finally turned that magical number everyone always talked about. And, in a few hours, she was about to add to that long list of craziest things she’d done in her life.
This could turn out to be either the best birthday ever or—she didn’t finish the thought. The four other guests sat around her were bright and cheery chatting. And, in turn, it was inevitable they directed questions to her in making polite conversation. She met them as best she could with a painted smile. Meanwhile, strange butterflies stomped round her stomach. Twenty minutes later, upstairs alone in her room, she threw up in the toilet.
Nerves won out.
Kate wretched into the porcelain, on her knees; it was quick, bitter, and over in moments. Relieved, she sat on the corner of the bed and began chewing three sticks of gum at once. All the while fiddling with the gum packet unaware she was shredding the wrapping onto the carpet. The tiny fluttering pieces, gathered in a pile at her feet.