Chapter 3 – Crimson

I dressed myself in the most beautiful white satin dress I had had, and brushed my hair downwards so as to straighten the curls and the tiny misplaced hair. I looked at myself in the mirror, and sighed. I waved my hand in front of the mirror so it could show me what I was missing.

As the mirror warped itself, I could see alphabets falling in order ‘Scientists discover water on Mars’ – it read. The daily news printed itself upon the glass and surrounded my room so I could update myself with the world as I got ready. I picked out the nicest pair of shoes I had as I read the sports column that had placed itself on the floor, and straightened myself up.

With a flick of my finger, the letters dissolved in thin air and the curtains lay glowing against shades of red and orange, reflecting the milky sunset outside. I looked outside with a wave of excitement. We were going out for my birthday dinner – my boyfriend and I. I pictured the perfect evening – a quiet little date, with books and good food, and a walk by the shadowing street lamps that would form long figures of us holding hands.

The doorbell rang. I peered through the window, and saw it was him!

I ran down to open the door and saw that dad had already opened it and invited him inside.

‘Wally!’ I exclaimed as I ran towards him and hugged him. My head rested right below his chin, as he wrapped his arms comfortably around me.

‘Happy Birthday, smarty’, he said as he landed a kiss on my forehead. He preferred calling me smart over beautiful, because he believed that everyone is beautiful, but only a few choose to be intelligent. I quite liked that. It made me feel special, indeed.

Dad looked at him for a while, then at me. I could see the awe in his eyes. ‘Oh dear, you are a wholesome daughter, perfect on the inside and the outside. Wait here, let me get you your birthday present – ‘he broke off as he scurried across the living room to the room upstairs.

I sat beside Wally on our long grey couch. He wore a tuxedo for the first time; I had never seen him dressed formally before. His brown hair was slicked back, and his ragged beard was gone. His long articulate nose and his narrow olive eyes looked straight into mine.

‘Here you come, sweetheart’, dad broke the silence and handed me a long black box wrapped in silver ribbon with a note attached that said ‘We will always stay close in your heart, and in your life. Lots of love – ‘

‘It’s from your mom and me’ he said ‘We had been waiting for your birthday to give you this’. A white firefly shaped pendant hung stunningly on a silver chain.

‘Oh, dad’ I clasped my hands around my mouth, and then gave him a hug.

Wally helped me put the necklace around my neck.

‘Well, you guys have a great time, and come home on time.’

‘Goodbye, Papa. Don’t you worry’, I smiled

‘I second that, sir’, Wally repeated in a heavy fabricated tone.

I laughed.

Wally held the door open, and smirked at my dad, who stared back at him with no expression whatsoever. Wally continued to smile, for a reason I am unaware of, and he closed the door behind him.

‘Where are we going?’ I asked him as I got into his old black convertible.

‘Somewhere magical’, he said. I could not help but conceal a giggle.

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