Family before fun


Lucy Admidala lay on her back on her clean white sheets. She combed her delicate hand through her soft blond hair, a tear unexpectedly fell down her face.
She had invited everyone in her class to her fancy birthday, but she had made a special invitation for Harriet Donald her very best friend. The card was made of pink and gold sequins, with green glitter and the faces of twelve happy puppy dogs. But Harriet had turned her down, all for her grandmother’s 100th birthday. Surely Lucy’s party was more important? She had hired juggling clowns and face painting fairies, which was Harriets favorite type of birthday. But Harriet just smiled and said ‘ Sorry Lu, Grandma Donald’s turning 100 on Saturday, I can’t come.’

Lucy just couldn’t understand the importance of Grandma Donald’s 100th birthday. What could be better than Lucy’s party with painting, juggling and prizes? Lucy clenched her fists and scowled at the ceiling

On Saturday Lucy dressed in her white blouse and blue plaid skirt. She tied her hair up with a pink stripped ribbon and wore her red sparkling party shoes.
She tried to call Harriet and ask her again but the answering machine just beeped and asked to leave a message.

The clowns and the beautiful fairy princess arrived joking to Lucy’s mother and father.
‘When does the party start mother?’ Lucy asked. ‘At Twelve thirty darling,’ Mrs Admidala replied stroking Lucy’s hair. Lucy renched out of her grasp. ‘Can I go over to Harriet’s ?’

‘I thought you said Harriet wasn’t coming, you said it was her grandmothers birthday?’

‘Yes, later mum!’ And she ran out the door.

Lucy ran down the street, puffing and blowing, her high heels clomping against the pavement and arrived at Harriet’s door.

Mrs Donald opened it with a smile on her face.

‘Well hello there Lucy darling, come in sweet-heart.’

Lucy dashed inside and up to Harriet’s room and flew open the door.
Harriet looked up. ‘Oh hi Lu, we’re just about to leave, you look real great!’
Lucy ignored her, anger boiling up in her like a pot of hot water.

‘Please Harriet,’ she moaned ‘Pretty please with sugar on top, come to my party, Sara the beautiful fairy has come and you love her don’t you?’

Harriet sighed and placed her book that she was reading down. ‘Lu, I’ve already explained! Grandma is coming down from Africa and it’s so important, her birthday I mean, don’t you understand?’

‘II DO NOT UNDERSTAND!’

‘Well,’ Harriet huffed ‘Humph, I guess I’ll just have to show you then!’ She grabbed Lucy and stalked out the door and in to the family room.

The room, Lucy had never seen. It was dimly lit by a small fire crackling in the distance. No light shone through the closed curtains, no just a fire.

‘See this Lucy?’ She showed her a polished wooden engraved plaque. ‘Every time one of the Donalds turns 100 their name is engraved here. We light the candle on the cake and turn all the lights off. The birthday person engraves their name with my great, great, great, great, great, great Grandpa Donald’s pen.
And that’s what we’re going to do for grandma’s birthday. Mum, Dad, Larry, Shelly and me have never ever been to one! Don’t you see? It’s a special family tradition! And I can’t miss it, and even if I wanted to I wouldn’t.’

Lucy stared at the plank awed by its beauty. The sparkling, glittery invitation in her left hand looked like gray dust on the window seal, next to the wonderful, bold plaque.

‘You should come Lucy,’ Harriet whispered, ‘you’re like family.’

Lucy smiled, she gazed around her and her eyes fell softly on the SUNDAY TIMES.
Lucy covered the TIMES and pointed to the SUNDAY.
They both smiled and joined hands, like best friends, who understand each other do.

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