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Birthdays are strange. As a child, you would think that the presents you’d receive as you get older would only get better and better. But as your interests become more specific and as you start to realize the worth of items, meaningful gifts are hard to come by.
   Especially when your family starts to run out of money.
   Trust me, when I say I love my brother dearly I truly mean it. But, whereas he got a telescope that my dad saved up for for such a long time for his twelfth birthday (and everything he got from his friends as well), I got a brittle pair of sunglasses that couldn’t have been more than two dollars for my nineteenth. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods.
   Calvin was asleep as our father came in with a small box. His steps into the room causing the floorboards to creak horridly. His job had been requiring him to take more hours as wages all across the workforce had been reduced, again. Across the room, I could see the time was 11:43 pm. Dad’s attire was dirtier than usual, though, that was expected as we needed to ration water now. Cleaning clothes was no longer something we could do as often.
   Without a word, he left the gift on my dresser and left with a heavy sigh.

   I turn over and go back to sleep.

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