3 years ago...
Lightning pierced through the dark sky, followed by the roar of thunder.
Sheltered from the bullets of rain, Maceline was curled up in her chair by the window, eyes peering out onto the empty street. A notebook was placed on the windowsill, a pencil right beside it. If it were not for the light from the window, the room would be as dark as the aphotic zone.
A stark contrast to the thunderclaps outside, the solitude of her mind was devoid of noise. Silent tears flooded its caliginous room as her thoughts quietly wrote themselves on the leaden walls. Each word that appeared on those walls were obscured in the darkness, but Maceline could see them clearly.
A waste of space.
These weren’t the only words that were there. They were just the three out of many living in the disturbing and unbalanced world known as her mind. Every now and then, thoughts that contrasted against these would come in, only to instantly be drowned by the negative ones, not giving them a chance to even speak.
At that moment, the creaking of the door to her bedroom sounded, breaking her reverie and causing Maceline to look at the doorway, only to see her sister standing there with a cake in her hands. Younger than her by three years, Molly, her sister, shared the same ashy blonde hair and azure eyes as her. They looked so alike that if it weren’t for their age difference, they would be identical twins.
Stepping in, her sister beamed happily at her and began singing a song.
“Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear sister! Happy Birthday to you!” she sang as she walked up to Maceline.
Mustering a practised smile, Maceline watched as she placed the cake on the windowsill. Maceline gazed down at it, deciphering the sloppy writing of frosting that read ‘Happy Birthday Big Sister!’.
“Molly...you know you didn’t have to, right?” Maceline said as she turned to her sister.
Molly smiled even brighter. “But I wanted to!” She gestured to the cake. “See, it’s your favourite! Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I even wrote the words myself!” she exclaimed proudly.
Suddenly, Maceline’s brows creased together. “Where and how did you get this?”
“At the supermarket! I bought it with my own money that I saved up!” she announced, adding emphasis to ‘I’.
Maceline’s smile faltered, but thankfully it went unnoticed by her sister.
“Well? Are you going to thank me or not?” her sister asked, raising her brows.
“Of course, thank you,” Maceline said and pulled her sister into a hug.
As Molly squeezed her big sister tightly, Maceline couldn’t prevent a lone tear from slipping down her cheek. She quickly dried it against her sister’s shirt and forced herself to not burst out crying. A moment later, Molly pulled away.
“Were you excited to see your cake?” she asked.
Making sure that her smile didn’t seem forced, Maceline nodded her head. “Of course, but I didn’t think I would have one because of how long I waited.”
“Yeah, about that...I wanted to do it late so that I could surprise you,” Molly explained, her smile not once losing its happiness and pride.
“Well, I did not expect it, so...you did surprise me,” Maceline said, faking joy.
Molly grinned broadly.
A moment passed before she said again, “Okay, now blow the candles. And then make a wish.”
Not wanting to disappoint her sister, Maceline leaned in and blew the candles out. Molly clapped loudly as she did.
“Did you make a wish?”
“Great!” she said. “I made a wish too, even though it’s not my birthday. Do you wanna know what it is?”
“Oh-well, sure! If you want to, you might as well.”
“Okay.” Waiting a few seconds, she finally said, “My wish is for your wish to come true.”
Shocked, Maceline struggled to find her next words. “That’s...that’s just-” She shook her head. “Wow. Thank you.”
Molly then pulled the candles out of the cake. “I’m going to go downstairs to get a knife and plates to cut the cake. We can eat it together.”
As soon as she ran out the room, Maceline looked at the cake, blurriness crowding her sight. She wiped the tears that had formed in her eyes away with her sleeves, willing her bottom lip to stop quivering. She breathed in a shaky breath and pushed down the tears that wanted to pour out.
Why would she waste her money on me? she thought, her heart breaking.
Maceline moved her gaze to the unlit candles beside it, her eyes still blinking back tears. She frowned and let a gasp escape, her nose starting to sniffle. Right then, her vision started becoming even more blurry as more tears fought to escape. Her breath got caught in her throat as she frantically dried her eyes.
As quickly as the tears came, they stopped suddenly as Maceline buried the emotions back underneath her facade. She took a few deep breathes before relaxing and then sinking into her chair. A short while later, her breathing returned to being calm and steady, the rims of her eyes only slightly red. Her nose still sniffled a bit, but she looked fine enough to make her look like she hadn’t been crying. It was ephemeral, after all.
I’m fine, she told herself.
I’m fine, she repeated again.
She didn’t believe it, because inside, she knew she wasn’t fine. She felt confused as to why her sister would buy a cake for her. She felt sick of how she had to fake her emotions. She felt useless to her sister. She felt unworthy of her sister. She didn’t deserve Maceline, she deserved someone much better than Maceline.
Maceline glanced back at the candles once again and thought back to her wish. She scoffed and leaned her head against the window, at the same time shaking her head a bit.
Her wish would never come true, even with her sister’s wish, even if she worked towards it. It was an impossible wish, one that only existed on her head.
Nothing could make her happy, not even a wish.