At midnight, the telephone rang, but I was too lazy to pick up the receiver. I covered my face with the pillow, trying to ignore the incessant ringing, which continued for several minutes before it finally stopped.
"Thank God!" I tried to close my eyes again, hoping to continue my disrupted sweet dream.
A quarter of an hour later, unfortunately, the ringing began again.
"Oh, God," I protested weakly.
How this ringing disturbed me as I was just beginning to slip into a deep, sound sleep! Again, I covered my face with the pillow.
Apparently, the caller got annoyed that I wasn't picking up the phone, which started to ring every five minutes.
It was one o'clock in the morning.
Well, whoever he or she was, the caller had disturbed my sleep for a whole hour already. When the telephone rang again, I gave up.
"All right ... All right!" I said, reaching for the receiver from my cozy bed.
"Hello!!" I screeched in a rather high-pitched voice, my vexation obvious.
"Happy Birthday, Kelly!"
I was surprised and pulled the receiver away from my ears as voices boomed "Happy Birthday" over and over.
"Thanks, thanks a lot!" Gosh, I had almost forgotten my birthday.
"Kelly, you see Intan, Lady, Tika and me are here!" said Dhea, one of my school buddies.
"Kelly, why didn't you answer our call?" that was Intan speaking.
"So it was you, then?" I was overwhelmed by this pleasant surprise in the wee hours that my annoyance -- and sleepiness -- disappeared.
"Of course, we all wanted to wish you a happy birthday at midnight sharp. The girls are staying over at my house now," said Lady.
"Kelly, don't forget to treat us tomorrow, okay?" said Tika.
"Of course, of course. Just tell me where, okay," I said.
"Well, then, Kelly, go back to sleep and sweet dreams. See you tomorrow," Dhea and the other girls said in unison.
I was going to cut the phone when I heard a confusion of voices. They had not disconnected yet. I placed the receiver against my ear again.
"Well, friends, what is it?"
"Haaappy Birthdaaay! Byyyeeeee!"
I laid down on the bed and started to go back to sleep, but the telephone rang yet again.
"Who on earth is it this time?" I said as I rose wearily to pick up the receiver.
"Hello, dear, Happy Birthday."
God, is it him ...?
"Tommy?" Hearing his voice was enough to dispel my annoyance.
"Happy Birthday, Kelly."
"I tried to reach you earlier, but your phone was busy."
"Dhea and the gang called me."
"Oops. I'm not the first, then?
"That's all right. I'm happy to hear from you, even at this hour."
"Where do you want to celebrate your birthday?"
"How about Cafe Ozone?"
"Four o'clock tomorrow afternoon, then? I mean, this afternoon?"
"See you later, Kelly. Sleep tight."
"Good night ..."
It was 1:30 in the morning when I was finally able to go back to sleep and return to my sweet dreamland.
"Kelly, wake up!!" A loud knock at the door.
"It's six now, time to go to school, girl."
I jumped out of bed and rushed to the bathroom. In less than five minutes, I was in the dining room, dressed and ready for a quick breakfast.
"Happy Birthday, Kelly." My sister was holding a black forest cake. On it were two candles in the shape of a 1 and 7. A special breakfast was already laid out on the table.
I couldn't say anything. I was too surprised. This was the third surprise of the morning.
I walked to my sister, hugged her and kissed her on both cheeks.
"Now make your wish."
I did as she said, and prayed to God that happiness would always grace our home.
I blew out the candles, we had a quick bite of the cake and rushed off to school.
My sister and I live in an apartment downtown. Our parents are in New York, running the family business. They come home once every three or six months.
At school, I have Intan, Lady, Tika and Dhea -- my best friends. We've been friends since our first year at high school -- that's when Tommy and I started going out. Now we're all in our second year.
After school that day, I treated my buddies at the school canteen. Again, they wished me a very happy birthday. We toasted with cold bottles of soda.
"Sorry, friends, I have a date this afternoon -- otherwise I would take you all out to eat."
I only smiled.
"By the way, I haven't seen Tommy today," Dhea chipped in.
"Where is he?" asked the others. No one knew.
We spent an hour or so in the canteen, eating and drinking merrily.
At four, I was at Cafe Ozone, but couldn't find Tommy. I ordered a cup of hot Cappuccino. I waited and waited, but Tommy didn't turn up.
After I had waited about an hour, I decided to leave the cafe -- Tommy had never turned up.
I was very disappointed, sad and angry.
How could you play with my feelings, Tommy? You, of all people!
After a short taxi ride, I returned to the apartment on the sixth floor. I was still angry and disappointed. As I left the elevator, I entered a hallway that was filled with red rose petals scattered on the carpet -- and an envelope.
I picked it up. It was for me.
Follow the red rose petals.
My curiosity got the better of me. I followed the petals, and they led me to the door of my apartment. There was another note.
Go down to the fourth floor.
"Go down?" Still, my curiosity was growing, and I went down as instructed. Again, I found red rose petals on the floor and another note.
Follow the petals again.
I did. The petals led me to the door of community room the on this floor.
Open the door.
"Oh-my-God." I was stupefied. The entire room was decorated with red roses and colorful balloons floating everywhere. In the middle was a table laden with a big birthday cake. Big red letters saying "Happy Birthday, Kelly!" hung on the wall.
While I stood there dumbfounded, two hands crept up and covered my eyes tightly.
"Happy Birthday again."
He kissed me softly on the forehead.
"Now make your wish."
For the second time, I made my wish. But it wasn't really a wish...
Thank you, God, for surrounding me with so many people who care and love me. Amen .....
Translated by Lie Hua