“…and so, I just want you to know how much I love you, and I am extremely proud of you. I don’t think I have ever been more proud in my entire life,” Myra recited before her last birthday with her children.
“Mooom! Don’t talk like this,” Alayna cried.
“I’m sorry, baby, but you need to hear it. In a few days, I’ll be gone, and I don’t want it to be a surprise. I want you to be prepared! So, do all your crying now while I’m here to comfort you. I don’t want anyone crying when I’m gone, understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” they all said.
Alayna and Brady left the room to go process what they just heard, but Owen–the stalwart–stuck around to encourage Myra.
“They’ll be fine, Mom. I’ll make sure of it.”
“I know you will, honey. Can I just say something?”
“Of course, Mom. Anything!”
“Make sure you make time for love.”
“How do you mean?”
“You tend to be…a bit…focused, I’ll say. You get an idea in your head and you work work work at it until it’s done. You’ve been that way your whole life! I remember, when you and Brady were little boys, you would spend hours on that balcony trying to beat him in chess. You guys were so cute. I thought you were going to wear him out, but he enjoyed it. I’m just saying…you only get one life. Don’t waste it on trivial pursuits. Make it meaningful, and make sure you have someone to share it with.”
“But Alayna and Brady will be here….”
“But maybe they won’t always be. You’re the one who has to stay here. Isn’t there any girl out there you may want to settle down with?”
“Well…I like Alexia, but I don’t want to get married to her out of obligation, Mom!”
“Ok! It’s not like you have to marry her tomorrow, but I’m glad you have someone in mind. Please, son, remember what I said. Make time for her.”
Myra finished the birthday cake and then went to bed. At first, she wanted to stick around and watch them blow out candles and spin around one last time, but she knew it would make her sad. Besides, she felt like her parting words did enough damage for one night.
Owen and Alayna got things going as they always did, thinking really hard about what they wanted out of life in the next phase before blowing out the candles.
They didn’t know they had an uninvited guest silently cheering them on from the sidelines. Why he didn’t join them, we’ll never know.
“Ok, Brady…this is it! This is the last good birthday you’re gonna have, so make it count, bro. Come on, Alayna,” he said motioning her to cheer him on.
“Braaaady, Braaaady, Braaaady,” they chanted as he thought about his wish.
Brady attempted to blow out the candles, but Myra gave them trick candles–as she always did.
“Come on, Bray! You don’t know how to handle these candles by now,” Owen teased.
He took in a deeper breath and blew out those candles like a boss. For his birthday, sadly, he received the insane trait. His chances of finding love to accomplish his big happy family goal are now drastically reduced. There’s someone out there for you, Brady. You just need to find her. Alayna is now romantic and was seriously considering changing her lifetime aspiration. She thought she was too cute to be a public enemy. She was heavily into painting now, and decided to make painter extraordinaire her goal. Well, that and making Roland fall in love with her–not that he wasn’t already. Owen, as fate would have it, developed the loner trait. How appropriately inappropriate!
The next morning, Myra went downstairs to make some tea, but she found that it was already made. At first she thought it was the children, but as great as she thought they were, they just wouldn’t do something like that.
“Happy green,” she said as she wafted the tea.
Then she knew.
“Thank you, sweetheart.”