It was nearly dusk when Betty stepped into the mudroom. Through the kitchen door, she heard her parents’ arguing.
“Today is her birthday, dammit!” her mother exclaimed. “I forgot all about it!”
Her father shouted, “It’s not my fault she was born. I didn’t want another….”
“Stop it, right now!” her mother growled back. “Yes, it was inconvenient to have another child so close to Bob. I know that! But that doesn’t change the fact that she is ours, she is here, and today is her birthday.”
“What’ll you give her, then?” her father responded. “Take one of her Christmas presents like we do every year?”
Betty backed away from the door and silently returned to the now dark snowy landscape. Each year she was hopeful her birthday would be remembered and celebrated. Each year she was disappointed.
Turning away from the house, Betty stepped in her father’s steps over deep snowy ground, and returned to the cave she had dug in a deep drift. She would stay there until her parents could at least pretend to be happy. She didn’t want to embarrass them by walking in too soon after their argument.
I’ll just wait here for a while…she thought as she dozed off to sleep in her hidden winter cave.