These Are The Candles I Am Lighting

And here I sit, surrounded by relatives and friends,
Plopped up in front of a delicious vanilla cake, perfectly covered in pink frosting.
I can’t stop thinking about the gifts and the surprises of becoming a year older;
Another finger to hold up when asked for my age, another year to look forward to as I wait for my next birthday.
And there are the candles, lit by innocence and excitement, glowing with the wonderful joys of imagination, completely unaware of life’s harsh reality.
These are the candles I am lighting

And here I sit, in the center of a huge party surrounded by my classmates,
The deafening music booming across the room, pounding in my heart.
Thinking about the stress and the work that will come with the next year of my life.
The whispers, the rumors, the opinions of other people that someone seen to take priority in my mind.
The cake is brought out, overly decorated with pink frosting, covered in celebration and joy,
and the candles, burning up the stress and frustration that remains in my mind
13, 14, 15, 16
These are the candles I am lighting

And here I sit, in a huge house
Surrounded by a loving husband and three smiling faces with eyes glittering of youth;
Taking in every single moment and treasuring it forever, holding on to the places and the faces, taking mental pictures of each memorable minute
And then the cake is brought out, carelessly decorated with pink frosting by
three trouble-making children who spent more time eating the frosting than putting it on the cake.
The candles glittering with perfection and small moments, a reminder of the past and a reminder of the future, reflecting in the young eyes of excited children
37, 38, 39, 40
These are the candles I am lighting

And here I sit, alone at an old wooden table,
Staring at a small homemade cupcake sloppily covered in pink frosting.
Wishing for a friend, wishing for a love, wishing for someone who would just simply care.
My eyes are drawn to the fluorescent candles, sparkling with youth yet reminding of old age, born from fire yet telling how fire must eventually burn out.
Burning from experience, illuminated by distant memories, kept alive by the candles that came before
97, 98, 99, 100
These are the candles I am lighting.

Ally Lathen, Age 13, Grade 8, Trinity School, Silver Key

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