The necklace made some of the guests feel as though the presents they had chosen for Haley’s fifth birthday were inadequate. Haley was sure to use her manners while opening her presents before dinner, but, from the moment she picked up the wooden box with the necklace inside, it was obvious that this present was particularly special. She ran her fingers over the edge of the envelope before taking out the card, being careful to keep the envelope intact. She asked her mother to read the beautifully handwritten message on the inside: To my dearest Haley, you are as lovely as a soft summer breeze and as radiant as the sunshine on a cloudy day. I hope this necklace will only add to your power. With love, Grandma. Haley closed her eyes as she felt her body cover in goosebumps and a lump forming in her throat. She opened them when her mother finished putting the necklace on and smiled nervously as everyone commented on how magnificent it made her look.
Two factors were behind Haley feeling courageous enough to ask her parents if she could be excused to leave her own party. Firstly, she felt ill at the thought of eating the pizza, she vaguely remembered mentioning when her parents had asked her what she might like for her birthday dinner. Then there was the fact the necklace was taking far too long to stop being the topic of conversation. Having braved her way through the third conversation about what the necklace meant to her, all Haley could think about was seeking refuge in the shelter of her bedroom. After a lengthy discussion, her parents agreed. She thanked each of her guests for coming and for their thoughtful presents, and, after collecting her presents and excusing herself to her bedroom, she turned off the lights and snuggled up in the warmth of her freshly washed sheets.
The sound of music and laughter echoed down the hallway as Hayley lay in the darkness, fiddling with the necklace, thinking of all of the pleasant times her and grandmother had shared together. Restless, Haley hopped out of bed, turned on her reading lamp and took out the photo album she kept under her bed. For the next several minutes, Haley lay on her stomach, smiling as she looked through the photo album. Towards the end of the album, Haley came across one of her favourite pictures. It showed her painting a picture using an easel on her first day of kindergarten.
Haley thought she had noticed everything there was to notice about the photo; from every brush stroke to every wrinkle on the back of her grandmother’s delicate hands, but her smile faded when, tonight, she noticed something in the background that she had never seen before. Her anger bubbled higher insider her the more she took note of what was in the photo. She sat up and stared at the lightbulb in her lamp, its dark-orange glow mimicking how Haley was feeling on the inside. With every intention of putting the photo album away, Haley slammed the photo album shut and, just as she did, the lightbulb in her lamp shattered, and the window next her bed began to crack.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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