The Mask

by Tameko L. Barnette

The twenty-sixth day of January in the year two thousand greeted me with not only one year added to my life, but also several extra years I hadn’t anticipated. My disenchantment and despair were in place along with my dark cloud and still shadow. I adorned myself with them like fine jewels worn by an Egyptian queen. To make sure my ensemble was complete, I searched deeply within my well-guarded and darkened soul for the one item that would shine brighter than the others. The mask.

“Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Maia! Happy Birthday to you!” Seventeen off-key voices pierced through me as I entered the joy-filled living room carefully decorated with gold and silver heart-shaped confetti, gold and silver streamers, and gold and silver balloons. I hated balloons, but the mask instructed me to smile and politely say, “Oh, thank you guys so much.”

As I stood in front of the enormous birthday cake with twenty-eight candles burning brightly showing off my age, I closed my eyes tight and took a deep breath. I wished that one day I wouldn’t need the mask. I opened my eyes to see that there was one candle still burning.

The End

The Mask by Tameko L. Barnette

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