“We should do something to commemorate your birthday. It’s coming up soon, isn’t it?”
“Well, it is, but you know I’m not big on celebration.” She frowns at him, digs her nail into the table and leaves a small scar that blends in with the grainy design of the wood.
“Eighteen is important. You’ll be a legal adult.”
“Fine. What did you have in mind?” Reluctant now, she folds her hands over the table and ducks her gaze away from his. If she looks she might just be convinced – eye contact makes everything more convincing and she’s not in the mood for a lecture on being more social.
“I don’t know. Something fun.”
“Still don’t see why. Seventeen feels perfectly adult to me; I just can’t go to the pub with my classmates. Not til next semester.”
Inhale. Exhale. He tries to refrain from gritting his teeth, because he’s known her for five years now and she’s only become more reserved and introverted as time’s gone on. Stubbornness is her greatest weapon and she wields it every time he tries to coax her to go out, do something other than study. These occasions of actual human contact are rare, as she prefers to hide behind technology and claim it saves time.
They make tentative plans for her birthday and head their separate ways.
The time passes and her birthday approaches; she emails to cancel their plans. Going to be out of town, she writes, maybe we’ll do something another time. She decides that they need to grow apart, and so it’s time to orchestrate this. Can’t have him too close, after all.
A month later she’s back and more anti-social than ever. Any time he invites her to meet up is declined with a plausible and never-repeated excuse, and he decides to stop trying. One day he stops emailing and texting, realizing that she hardly ever answers.
After a few years she tells him that the plans to spend time together was the trigger for the distancing.