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The Birthday Surprise

by Amanda Goldfarb, age 11, from US

Ashley Vaughnıs 11th birthday was just one day away, and she still did not know what she wanted. All her friends had called asking what she wanted, and all she said was, "Let me think." By the time she had finished thinking, they had already hung up. Ashley had always wanted to take gymnastics lessons, but her parents knew that. She had also always wanted a puppy, but her parents knew that too. She doubted that they would give her a dog, but you never know!

"Good morning, Ashley," her mother said as she walked in and pulled up the shades. "Breakfast will be on the table in a few minutes, and if you want to get some, you might want to get moving."

"Okay," Ashley said and sat up in bed. Just as she was opening her drawer to get out some clothes, her five-year-old sister, Jessica, walked in.

"Hi, Ashley," Jessica said shyly.

"Hey, Jess. Whatıs up?" Ashley replied while trying to decide between a white blouse and a red skirt, or a blue blouse and a white skirt.

"I canıt decide what to wear today," Jessica said softly.

"What a coincidence. I canıt decide what to wear today, either," Ashley muttered. She decided to take the blue blouse and white skirt, and then pulled on a headband. After that Ashley and Jessica walked into Jessicaıs room. Ashley rummaged around in the closet until she found a pair of short-alls and an orange T-shirt, which Jessica then put on.

After Jessica found her hairbrush and Ashley braided her hair neatly into two long pig-tails, the girls raced down the stairs. The delicious aroma of warm French toast covered in maple syrup met their noses as they jumped the last few steps. When they sat down, Ashley was the first one to take a bite and sighed with contentment as the toast melted in her mouth. Brrringgg! Brrringgg! Ashleyıs mom pushed her chair back from the table and grabbed the telephone. She covered the mouthpiece with her hand and told Ashley, "Itıs for you."

Ashley took the phone and realized that it was another one of her friends asking what she wanted for her birthday. "Umm, let me think," Ashley muttered. She racked her brain trying to think of something, but not one thing came to mind. After about ten minutes of thinking, she put her ear to the phone and heard a dull buzzing sound. Her friend had hung up on her! That night Ashley went to bed with a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

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