art by Jonathan Westbrook
A Special Day
by Shannon Fay
I looked up from my bio notes to see some blonde girl grinning at me.
"Yo, Moria!" she said. "Fancy meeting you here."
She had long, straight hair and just the right amount of blue eye shadow. A ski pass dangled off the zipper of her winter coat. I pegged her as a snow bunny who spent more time on the slopes than in class. I figured we must have had a course together or something because she kept smiling at me. Her eyes dropped down to my mug.
"Oh, you're almost out! Let me buy you a coffee."
"Um, thanks," I said. I hoped I remembered this girl's name soon or else things were going to get awkward. She took my mug and went up to the counter. I was sitting in the university library's atrium. It was busy as always, students talking and studying, a janitor sweeping in the corner. The girl came back with my coffee and a cookie.
"They didn't have cake so I got you this instead."
"I don't eat refined sugar," I said. The girl looked down at the cookie with a frown.
"But thanks for the coffee." I took the mug from her hands. "It's not even my birthday."
The girl sat down. I cringed. I had an exam coming up and I wanted to go over the last chapter again, not make small talk with some girl I couldn't even remember. She grinned at me as she nibbled at the cookie.
"No, of course it's not. Even a keener like you would take a break on her birthday," she said. "Humans are good for observing things like that. Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials. But there's one day every year that people just flat out ignore."
"The day of their death."