On the night of my birthday, we cooked out in the backyard. We had hot dogs—my favorite food—and a white cake with chocolate frosting. After dinner, my little brother, Nate, whispered to me. “There is a big present,” he said. “But don’t tell anybody because it’s a secret.”
There were actually two presents, held together with a yellow ribbon. I let Nate tear open the small wrapped box. It was a box of colored pencils—the eight-pack. I hugged it to my chest and said thanks.
I wondered for a second what the big box could be. Then I tore open the wrapping paper and saw a shirt. It was a soft sweatshirt with a hood. And on the left side, there were three little black . . . hearts.
My stomach dropped. It was a fake Orion—a cheap imitation with three hearts instead of stars.
It was probably still too expensive for my mother to be buying for me this year. And it was worse than no Orion hoodie at all. It was the fakeness that was so awful. I’d rather wear my brother’s old T-shirts. At least they are what they are and don’t try to be anything else.
I held up the fake sweatshirt for everybody to see. While I did, my mother explained that it was an Orion—the hottest trend of the year. I chewed on my lip, and she didn’t stop me.
I gave her and my dad kisses, thanked them for the presents, and quickly helped clean up. But when I got back outside, Mom was holding up the sweatshirt. “Go try it on, Dori. Let’s see how it looks!” she said.
So I went to the bathroom, tried it on, cried at my reflection, and modeled it for the family. Then I headed straight for my room.