Last night at dinner a girl a couple tables over turned nineteen. I know this because it was Chili’s.

She lived in transition. Beside the young woman her mother’s years pared back youth to reflect the bones and structure of the woman she might become. Across the table a friend—hair stuffed into a rubberband and frazzled—cooed into a detachable infant car seat reminding our protagonist how things could be—very soon. Finally, flanking her other side, a younger sister beamed with excitement for the celebration and pride for her sister’s involuntary accomplishment.

Our girl’s rounded cheeks flush red from the just sang song. She pats them down with slim fingers cool from her lap. She’s uncertain how to handle the scoop of ice-cream pinned to a brownie by nineteen candles.

She will go one to remove each obstacle one at a time. Some she will suck the melting reward from the base. Others she will lay neatly on a napkin. Her companions may encourage her to work faster or to remove one before another, but they will not reach out and pluck any away to make it easier. Eventually her fingers will stick to each other, will stick to the other candles when she tries to remove them, and will stick to her spoon once she enjoys the ice-cream.

227 words on day 605