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I remember this day perfectly. I was 7 years old and it was my Uncle Steve’s birthday. Mama and I decided we were going to throw him a surprise party. Uncle Steve didn’t have many friends, so it was just going to be family.

Mama went out to get the cake so she left me in charge of putting up the balloons.

I was so excited, I felt like I was throwing the party all by myself.

I, as a young child, loved parties! All the gifts, and all the attention I want, a day completely dedicated to me. I thought my Uncle Steve would feel the same way. He was turning 40 that day.

Mom finally came back with the cake, white on white, his favorite. Soon after, my grandma and grandpa showed up and then my three crazy aunts and finally Uncle Steve’s wife. She told him she had to stop by the house to pick up an old recipe from grandma. Uncle Steve knows grandma can talk your ear off so he decided to stay in the car.

His wife came in and said she couldn’t get him out of the car, no matter what she tried. So grandpa went out and told him they could have a smoke while the girls talked if he came in. Uncle Steve could never turn down a smoke, so he groaned and got out of the car.

When he walked through the door we all yelled, “Surprise!”

Uncle Steve looked like a ghost had taken over his body. He said nothing for a few seconds but those seconds felt like minutes. Finally he said, “What the hell? You know I hate surprises!”

He slammed the front door and went back to his car.

That was the last time we ever threw a surprise party.

Story by Kyla Wenzel

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