By Kristy Kassie
Kerry stood in the shadow of the hibiscus tree. She heard her friends squealing and stifled a giggle. Her bratty brother and boy cousins were finding her friends where they hid but Kerry had the best spot ever. Her friends had helped her to the hilltop because she was the birthday girl.
For lunch, Mom and Aunt Daphne had laid out macaroni pie, barbecued chicken and a chocolate cake with pink icing and smarties. Kerry turned nine today. She wore her brand-new paisley jumper and white party shoes. She’d had the coolest tea party on the garden lawns with her friends and her new pink tea set.
Time passed as she crouched in the shadows, listening to the kiskadees call from the trees. She wished she could see them…they sounded so pretty. She hadn’t heard any squeals in a while and risked a hop of glee. This was the best hiding spot ever!
Everything looked flat and safe to her but she’d climbed up to get here so she knew it wasn’t flat. Her parents said that only a small piece of her right eye worked. They said her left eye didn’t work at all. It confused her and kind of made her mad when they said that. She could see the trees and the picnic tables, couldn’t she? And she could see her friends when they played – if they didn’t move too fast.
She jumped when she heard her dad’s voice behind her. “Kerry, let’s get you down from here.”
“Shh, I’m hiding,” Kerry whispered.
“Time to come down, Kerry,” Dad repeated patiently.
“It’s hide and seek,” Kerry explained. “I have to stay here.”
“Come on, Kerry.” Mom jerked her arm. “Game’s over.”
“No it’s not!” Kerry insisted. How could it be over when nobody had found her? “You’ll see,” she grouched to her parents on their walk down the hill.
They marched her to a picnic table. “Sit down, Kerry,” Mom said. “See?” Kerry followed her Mom’s finger and gaped. Her friends were playing tag with the boys. They were running round and round the trees, laughing like howler monkeys.
“I wanna play, too,” Kerry said, standing up.
“They played with you all morning!” Now Mom’s voice was angry. “Let them have some fun.”
“It’s my birthday!” Kerry protested.
“Kerry,” Dad said. “You have to understand. They need to run and play. And you can’t run and play like them.”
Kerry understood. Her friends didn’t want to play with her. She began to cry. She wished she was back in the shadows behind the hibiscus.
Kristy is an ESL Instructor, TV Reporter and Private Tutor in Vancouver, Canada. She enjoys writing creative nonfiction and flash fiction. Her work has been published in Freedom Fiction Journal and Breath and Shadow Magazine.