Mid Week Blues Buster, week 51

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/mid-week-blues-buster-week-51/

I dreaded birthdays, especially the part where I had to pretend like I didn’t hate myself or, really, everyone else, long enough to listen to off-key renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and eat crappy Wal-Mart cake and open presents that showed that, once again, no one I knew had even the vaguest understanding of who I was or what I liked. But it was even more work to fend off the advances of the zombie hordes of family members and coworkers and the odd passer-by than it was to endure the socialization, get it over with, and find my way back to the only place in the world that made sense to me.

My sister tried hard, no one could deny that. She bought more and more gifts each year, determined to find something that struck a chord with me, but I didn’t want the new hot album. Or tickets to a movie. Or fashionable clothes. Or, as she did for my thirtieth last year – a trip to Tokyo. Tokyo. Me. As if I didn’t have enough trouble avoiding people in stinking Tacoma, she wanted me to hang around with, what, a hundred million people crammed into a city the size of a phone booth?

It took six months for her to speak to me again, and that was just “your car is parked behind mine” when I was enduring Thanksgiving. I shuddered at the thought of the confrontation we’d have this year. I almost didn’t go.

Most of the family had learned a lesson from last year, and stuck to the simple things. Gift cards. Cash. Far Side birthday cards bought at Target on the way to the restaurant. But Annie, she still had a box. Not even wrapped, a box from some internet catalog company. The table grew silent as I slipped my finger through the tape and popped it open. Clothing, obviously, but nothing fashionable – no sweaters or khakis or loafers. Just a plain brown t-shirt with the words “I do whatever the voices in my head tell me to do” printed on it.

I looked at Annie, and for the first time in years, I smiled at a gift. She smiled back, sweet, innocent, her hopes answered. I knew what she wanted, and I drew her in for a hug. That was when I decided I’d save her for last. The voices didn’t come from inside my head, I knew that now, and the things under the bed would have the most wonderful time watching me devour her brains.

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