"Today was supposed to be a special day."

I woke up this morning and for the first time the whole week, I did my homework without distraction. I felt energized, rejuvenated, fresh. The day before I had taken a day off from school to visit a college with two of my friends, and it was a nice break.

My younger brother left at 10:30am to his soccer game with my dad, and I had the house to myself for a whole hour and a half. It was a nice break.

My mother came home at 2:00pm and we all went to the YMCA, like we always do on weekends. My brother convinced me not to swim and instead relax outside in the sunlight, the best weather we've had in a while. It was a nice break.

We got home from the Y and we unpacked our bags. My dad called me to speak with him. He reprimanded my lack of exercise and questioned whether or not I, the child who took up swimming by her own decision, could afford to have cake. What kind of role model am I, someone who didn't exercise today and someone who doesn't cook for the family. Someone whose mother bought a new bag of bread when we already had two. That's my fault.

I sit there, silent.

How similar my birthday feels year to year, no true enthusiasm, constant attention brought to me, and in particular, my failings.

It's almost like my birthday is meant to remind me of all the regrets in my life, all the breaks I've never had, all the nightmares of my family.

When was the last time I cried? Exactly one year ago.

"Today was supposed to be a special day."

Says my father.