Awake and Dreaming

At six o’clock in the morning Larry sprang from his bed and ran downstairs towards the kitchen. Outside the bird were chirping, the sun was shining, but today wasn’t just another day. Today was Larry’s birthday and his parents were here to celebrate with him. Vaulting off the last creaking step he flung himself through the kitchen door to see both of them waiting for him at the kitchen table.

“Hi Mom, Hi Dad! You remembered it was my birthday! You guys are up early!” Larry belted as he whisked dirty dishes from the table into the sink. A birthday cake baked just two days before was sitting in the middle of the table with 34 candles precariously placed on its top.

“How’s the shop running pop?” Larry said as he elbowed his father in the shoulder. He knew Dad was getting older but he looked a little more tired today. Maybe it was the lighting. “The frosting tastes wonderful Mom, even better than last year!” He bounded over and gave her a big hug which nearly knocked the old woman from her set. Sitting her back up he made his way to the cupboard and pulled out three plates then sliced each one of them an equal share of cake.

“Happy birthday to you…happy birthday to you…happy birthday dear Larry..” he belted out in unison with his parents. Their words were slurred in with his. He paused for a moment, changed his hand gestures and muttering a few more words they suddenly sounded a bit more clear.

There, much better than last year. I must be getting better!

Cleaning up the plates he pulled out and old worn checkers set, one of his favorite games. All afternoon and into the evening Larry played game after game and chatted with his parents. It was so good to see them again. Although they weren’t around much since the accident any time he got to spend with them he treasured…and they were especially punctual on his birthday. They hadn’t missed one since.

The evening grew late and Larry’s eyelids began to get droopy. “Well I guess its time to get ready for bed. Thanks for the best birthday ever! I love you guys!” he said as he threw his arms around both of them. Then, standing up he twisted his arms into a strange gesture and both his parents slumped over on the table.

He looked at them for a moment before carrying them out into the backyard. Father first, then mother were put back into their grave plots and covered with dirt.

“I’ll see you guys again next year and it will be the best birthday ever!” Larry whispered before turning and skipping back into the house.

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