By Victoria, Sancta Maria College, Mayo
I shall always remember the strange day when we celebrated my 18th birthday. It was a nice day. That year, a cool and fragrant breeze was blowing. All my friends and near relatives were invited for the occasion. A special sky-blue shirt and black trousers were prepared for me. It was a day full of excitement, joy, and expectations. The drawing-room was tastefully decorated with flower balloons and colourful paper buntings.
In the evening, the celebrations began when all the guests arrived. Then, I went into the hall, dressed in my special clothes. They were all waiting for me. They welcomed me by clapping their hands and giving me handshakes. The birthday cake had been placed on a large table with ten candles fixed on it. It was a large and beautiful chocolate cake.
Candles were lit. I blew them out in one blow, and then cut the cake. Friends and relatives cheered me loudly, clapped, and sang “Happy Birthday to You”. I was given so many presents, all wrapped beautifully. The guests were served pieces of cake, sweets, snacks, and soft drinks and tea. There was much fun, merry-making, laughter, and jokes.
When the party was over, I unpacked the gifts. I was surprised to find so many lovely gifts. My father gave me a lovely golden chain. Everyone wanted me to try it on, so I put the gold chain around my neck. Everyone admired the perfection of the jewel. Suddenly, I felt sick.
My head started spinning and I felt my neck burn. Little by little, I saw the scene become more and more blurry. My heart then began to slow down. Panicking, I cried, but no sound came out of my mouth. My father understood after a while, I think, that I was not feeling well. I could hear him asking me questions I didn’t understand, and the guests were looking at me with concern.
Then, nothing. A void.
I don’t remember anything. It was my parents who told me the rest. I was, according to them, choking. They called the emergency room, who quickly came to get me. My father was with me. The worried doctor told my dad that there was no reason found for my seizure yet. My father must have thought to himself that I was going to die then. Then the doctor looked at my neck, and shouted orders to the entire medical team around me. My father was forced out and the doctor immediately removed the chain from me. This is where we could see my raw neck skin, swollen just where the collar was. Yet the necklace would absolutely not be the size of my neck.
The doctors could never say why I was swollen to the point where I couldn’t breathe. Since no one wears that necklace at home anymore, this story remains a mystery to all of us.