She closed the door behind her as she stepped outside and raised the umbrella up against the drizzel. Sighing and buttoning her coat she began walking through the mud and puddle soaked parking lot. Carefully navigating the deeper potholes filling with the dirt road and rain, she adjusted her shoulder strap once more and started ahead.
Continuing to walk towards the crossroads, she fumed inwardly. Today, of all days, had not been kind. Despite the promises of birthday fun and pleasant conversation she had had none. Her friends unable to make the journey to see her at the last minute, and family hundreds of miles away.
The day had begun like every other, waking early, getting ready for work, rushing out the door to get into the office for meetings. Hitting her head on the desk by her bed hadn't even bothered her today, the original plans for her party had squashed unhappiness with ease. But it wasn't so anymore. The friends who had promised to come visit had bailed; citing everything from doctors appointments to unexpected family visits. She knew that some excuses were legitimate, others, more than half, felt more like cop-outs than anything else.
Pulling the umbrella closed, she walked up her staircase and jingled her keys. What she had just done only served to increase her depression. It was only last week that the sound of her keys in the lock would prompt an ecstatic ball of fur to leap against the door. Silence opened the door for her instead. The echos of a cars wheels echoing in her mind.
Placing her bag onto the table she slammed the door shut. Pulling her boots off and moaned unhappily at the mud now on her fingers, she sighed once more. "How could this day get worse?", hearing no reply from her empty home she asked again, then began interogating the room, asking about each friend, working herself up higher and higher until finally: she collapse on the couch and began to cry.
Unable to think straight, she curled into the couch. Pulling the pillow underneath her face and dampening it with her emotions. The feeling of her still muddy fingers irritating her face even as she tried to wipe away the pain. It was her birthday, the one day of the year where things were supposed to go her way. The day where she could look forward to the inevitable glass of wine payed for by a friend, or the tiramasu cheesecake from the bakery down the street.
There was nothing this year. No wine in the fridge. No cake from a friend. Come to think of it, she realized there was hardly any food in the kitchen. The planned trip to the grocery had been ignored since the more exciting birthday outings promised to keep her fed and happy for an extra day. She moaned again, sobbed slightly, and sat up on her couch.
Sniffling, she grabbed the mud and tear covered pillow and hucked it into the laundry bin. Stopping in the bathroom to wash her hands, she noticed how ragged she appeared. 5 minutes later, her face was washed and her hair pulled up into a bun. Noting the redness of her eyes she pulled out makeup and began fixing herself up.
Satisfied she no longer looked berift, her next goal became food. And company, if her friends wouldn't come to her, then she'd try to make new ones. Or at least pretend to have some. Slipping out of her work clothes and into a simple leggings and sweater combination, she walked out the door contemplating which club or bar to go to. While doubting she'd find any comfort dancing alone, the idea of having a meal and talking with an interesting stranger appealed. Maybe she'd even get a free drink if her birthday came up.
Taking the rain stopping as a good sign, she walked through the puddles into the downtown area and made her way to a pub. She was still upset, but no burger could judge her and she intended to have some type of birthday celebration. Ordering a cider alongside her meal, she quickly eased up a little from her stress. The bartender, bearded and tall was easy to talk to when he wasn't servicing other customers. Her birthday drink cool in hand and hot with alcohol reminded her.
One piece of cake later and two more drinks, and she had forgotten why she had been so upset leaving work in the first place. The bartender seemed to become the most fascinating individual in the world, and she lost herself laughing at his jokes and impressed by each story he regaled her with.
Her phone rang.
Excusing herself, she answered the call and happily greeted her friend. Excitedly telling her to come join her at the bar and getting more giddy when the friend agreed. The world was her oyster she thought, though she had never had oysters, she mused sleepily about them as her eyes fell into her glass.
Startling awake, she sleepily waved at her friend putting a mug of hot cocoa on the table. Stretching and blinking away the fuzziness in her vision, she asked what had happened. Bit by bit, she learned about how she had fallen asleep on top of a piece of cake and the bartender didn't know what to do. Luckily arriving not too soon after, her tab was paid by her friend and she had gone on and on about hot cocoa for a half hour before falling asleep on the couch.
Laughing, the two friends talked about past bar adventures for hours before falling asleep watching a movie. The long weekend ahead of them filled with after-birthday plans, events, and other thoughts on making the bad day turn into an amazing weekend.