The cake sat on the table. Candles were slowly melting down. Soon the chocolate and wax would be indistinguishable and uneatable. Even as an adult, she would never eat chocolate cake.
She’d crawled underneath the sofa, her safe place. They were fighting again. Despite the cake and the balloons, she’d known that something was wrong from the morning. Her mother’s puffy face, her father’s thunderous one.
She looked around for the knife, feeling for it. Safe next to the wall. Screams echoed from the bedroom. She’d learned not to leave the sofa when her parents’ voices were this loud.
The cake sat on the table, making her stomach growl. But she knew better than to even lick the cream.
She felt around for Bibby, her teddy. She’d stashed him there in the morning. Hugging him to her, she put her thumb in her mouth and went to sleep, the birthday chorus of screams and arguments resounding the house.