Birthday Gift

"Hey, Sarah, wanna hang out this weekend?" I asked.

"Oh sorry, I've got to practise with my band. The competition's coming up tight." Sarah rejected me. I was sad, of course. I looked at Zoe, who rolled her eyes, not realizing I was looking at her. I shrugged and decided to ask her after the competition Sarah's band, Spinner's Ballet, was taking part in.

The competition passed. Spinner's Ballet won the 1st prize. I heard them planning to go celebrate. Whatever, I thought.

Sarah, Zoe and I were at the cafeteria during lunch. I was flipping through a magazine when I spotted a new horror movie, Phobia.

"It's been forever since the three of us watched a movie together. Wanna go?" I asked, pointing at the movie review.

"Oh, Phobia? Sorry, I promised the band I'd go watch with them." Sarah said, looking a little bit sheepish.

I felt a ripple of anger within me.

"Look, Sarah." I said slowly, trying to sound and be calm. "Okay. Shut up," I said, when Sarah tried to interrupt me. "Listen to me, okay? I'm – if not Zoe and I – really sick of you going out with the band all the time. I know it mean shitloads to you, but…"

"I know I've neglected you. I'm sorry, okay? I'll… try to make it up." Sarah said quietly. Somehow, I felt angry again. I selfishly wished Sarah never met her band mates. I wished she never joined the band. I wished they just shriveled and died.

One day, after school, Zoe and I went to walk around the shopping mall together. Sarah had to go down to look for Jack, one of her band mates.

"Aren't you ever mad that she always hangs out with her stupid band?" I asked furiously.

"Yeah, sometimes."

"How can you stand it?"

"Just… I don't know." Zoe shrugged. "Bear with it, I guess."

Bear with it? How could I bear with it? I secretly admired Zoe's level of tolerance.

"Hey Zoe, what are you getting for Sarah's birthday?" I asked. Sarah couldn't get out that day, so I asked Zoe out to the library with me. Sarah's birthday was in 2 weeks, so I was wondering what to get for her.

"I don't know." Zoe sighed. "I think I'll just hang out with her that day."

I nodded my head slowly. "Yeah, maybe."

After school, Sarah went to lunch with us and the gang. It was like the days again, when Sarah's jamming with the band weren't so rampant. We were chatting after finishing our food.

"Hey, Sarah's birthday is near. Wanna go out?" Karl asked.

"Oh, screw, I told the band I'd go to the club with them. Litmus Green is playing there. They're our favourite band, you know." Sarah said in a quiet voice. Spotting Zoe and my livid looks, she looks even more sheepish and apologized. "I'm sorry, guys. Maybe the next day, or the day before or somewhere in that week?"

I snapped. Where we even her best friends at all? Or did that stupid band take everything away from us?

"Fuck, why do we even bother asking?" I yelled. Everyone at the table jumped, for I was never so incensed. "Spinner's Ballet! Band! Band! All the time! Why can't you just fucking hang out with us? It's been so long! Why do you always have to go out with them?" I took a deep breath, slamming ten dollars on the table. "I'm going."

"Nicole!" I heard Sarah shout, but I ram the fast food restaurant door open and left. I felt like smashing everyone. I wished, childishly, that a rifle with endless ammo would drop into my arms and I could shoot everyone dead, especially Spinner's Ballet.

-

"I've finally decided what to get for Sarah!" I said proudly to Zoe.

"What?" Zoe asked curiously.

"It's a secret." I said in a sing-song voice.

-

My phone rang. I wiped a trickle of sweat off my forehead, picking up the phone.

"Hello, Sarah?"

"Hey, Nick. You sound kinda… breathless. What are you doing?"

"Um… I'm repacking my room. Why?"

"Look, I'm really sorry about going out with my band members, okay? I cancelled the date with them on my birthday. Let's go out."

I nearly laughed in joy and at her tone.

"How about no? What if I said I was gonna go out with my other friends? How'd you feel?"

"Look, I'm sorry."

"Fine… Okay. I forgive you." I laughed.

I laid on my bed, planning out the day with Sarah. We decided to ask the whole gang out. I would then ask Sarah to come over to my house so I could give Sarah my birthday present to her.

"What is it?" Sarah asked excitedly. "Sure sounds big."

"It is big. But I'm not telling you what it is, so you can stop asking." I said, grinning.

Sarah's birthday finally arrived.

The whole gang went out for lunch at a restaurant, watched a movie together, played at the arcade; basically, we did the things we usually did on birthday celebrations. It felt so nostalgic, going out together again. I missed Sarah, through all the resentment and jealousy I felt.

After we parted, Sarah came with me to my house.

"Thank God my parents are out of town. If not, I wouldn't be able to do this." I said, opening my house door.

"Where is it?" Sarah asked curiously, smiling in excitement. I could see the glee in her glittering eyes.

"It's in the basement. Hang on, I'm gonna tie this bandana around your eyes because I know you will peek." I said, tying it around Sarah's hazel brown eyes.

I led her down to the basement, switching on the lights and turning on the music Spinner's Ballet made. I could see Sarah's smile form on her face.

"Okay, you can take the bandana off now."

Sarah took it off. I stepped aside to let her see my present clearly.

In front of us were Spinner's Ballet – the full set. I had hung their heads with ropes from the ceiling to make them stand. I had hammered all their feet into the wooden flooring to make them stand.

There was a microphone in front, a space where Sarah would usually be standing while they played. Sarah was their vocalist. I based it on one occasion when I went to watch them play.

Jack was at the side; I had slung his electric guitar around his neck and hammered his hands onto it, and I made his hair cover his face slightly, making him look like he had been banging his head while playing.

Reilly was seated at the drums; I had glued his hands to his drumsticks and placed them as though he was playing them. I even placed his foot on a peddle.

I made Ethan look exactly like Jack, except that he was playing his bass guitar.

Katy was at the side of the small stage I set. She was playing her keyboard; her fingers had been glued to some of the keys. I even tried to make her smile by pushing her lips up.

"Happy birthday, Sarah." I said, seeing the look on Sarah's face. Her eyes were wide open, frozen with happiness. Her right hand still held the red bandana I had used to tie around her eyes. Her mouth was hanging open. I knew she was rendered speechless from surprise. I was literally bouncing on the balls of my feet with content at her expression.

"Their necks have little red slits and their skins are odd now, but you can try to ignore that. It took me so long to figure what you would've wanted, you know! But I figured since you liked Spinner's Ballet so much, I made them stay here forever, so you could perform anytime you want with them. You better like it, Sarah! It took me so long to prepare this."