Lydia Gets Older
Kirby Johnson





Your mother loves you. Have the best day today!

Lydia signs into Twitter and writes, It's my birfday! Just got the sweetest message from my mom. Anyone wanna hang out later??, then brings up a list of "cool bars" on the computer. Two hours go by as she reviews and evaluates each bar for the exoticness of their drinks, their happy hour specials, and their "Bites and Snacks." Two hours go by and she opens, closes, and refreshes Twitter repeatedly, looking for a response to her message. Other people's posts build a tower above hers. They post about their lunch sandwiches and hot topics like civil rights or Whoopi Goldberg on The View. Lydia clicks on pictures of their day. She clicks on links that want hours of her time but she doesn't lose herself in waiting. She doesn't forget that she is on the internet biding her time, that only a few hours before she put words on the internet for others to read but she cannot tell if anyone saw them, she cannot tell if the internet worked. Twitter builds with each minute waited. It grows with each person's thoughts. It builds until Lydia's birthday message feels unreadable like a sign too far away. She wonders if anyone will ever scroll that far down to discover her invitation. She stops herself to send a few text messages, then stops herself again to think about what outfit to wear later before pressing send. She waits some more and thinks about waiting. She doesn't do anything but look at Twitter then back at her phone. She wonders if she should tweet another message, something cool and casual, perhaps picture of a piece of birthday cake or a gift. She looks around her home for a piece of cake, or an object she can pretend is a gift, but knows there isn't anything like that in her house and settles on an animal instead, digs a gift bow from the closet, and straps it to its head.

Kirby Johnson received her MFA in prose from the University of Alabama. Her work has appeared at Better Magazine, Everyday Genius, Tulane Review, and The Rumpus, among others. She is the founding editor of NANO Fiction and the most recent editor of Black Warrior Review.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of tanakawho.

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