I finally found the exit. Someone had covered it in glitter. I hung back for a moment, not trusting the glittery death trap hanging from the ceiling. Surely that could not be up to fire code. I peered at it through the well lit room. Was that red glitter forming the words? Or was it actually light shining through the silver glittering covering the rest of the sign.

Someone rushed past me. I watched as she shoved open the emergency exit door. Instead of an alarm blaring signaling that somebody dared to open the door without the fire alarms screeching above, a cloud of glitter descended upon the hapless individual.

I took a step back, wondering if the glitter dump was a one-time thing or if every person fleeing the untoward gathering would receive the same fate. I ducked behind a ficus as another party-goer ran down the hall, approaching the exit sign. Did they somehow find an unlimited source of glitter, I wondered as I watched the woman get doused in sparkles.

I would have to find another way out of here. I darted from ficus to ficus, rejoicing in the interior designer who thought that an over-abundance of shrubbery was the best way to decorate an office. To make my escape, I would have to cross in front of the room where the festivities were being held. I knew I was approaching the cursed area by the subtle signs. Streamers haphazardly taped to windows, the odd dash of glitter forming a trail, balloons that had escaped and turned into tripping hazards on the ground…

I carefully peered around the corner. Everyone was focused on the display of cake. My stomach rumbled, the cake looked excellent. I shook my head. No. I couldn’t let my stomach betray me. I had to stay strong and make an escape.

I drew in a deep breath, stretched my legs, and prepared to sprint across the opening. I made it one step before I heard my name. I glanced over, seeing my sister’s best friend holding an open diaper that dripped a murky green slop. Even from this distance, I could smell the rancid boiled eggs I’d used in the watery paste.

“What is this?”

“My contribution to the baby shower. I’m pretty sure I read on Pinterest that this is a popular party game.”

“Not with things that smell bad,” the woman objected. “Are you trying to sabotage this day for her? We’ve already lost two people to the stench already.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t to the over-abundance of glitter?” The whole floor was coated in the stuff. I felt a pang of sympathy for the custodial crew that would be responsible for trying to vacuum it up before office resumed business as usual the next week.

The woman blew on a curl that had escaped her bun and hung in front of her eyes. “Must you always be so difficult?”

“Part of my charm.” I reluctantly allowed her to drag me into the center of the room. The reception desk was lined with foul smelling diapers. A cake was on a folding table covered in glittery pink tablecloths. Blue balloons were taped to every corner. A giant sign advertised a guessing game about the gender of the baby. Apparently every guest was write their name and a gender guess on a piece of paper and drop it into a box. Halfway through the party, my sister planned to tally up the totals, announce the gender, and force everyone who chose wrong to wear giant glittery sashes and party caps. So that she could maintain the surprise for all attendees, she wasted money on both colors.

My sister grabbed hold of my arm as we approached and drew me in close. “Have you submitted a guess yet about the gender of my baby? I know I saw you lurking over there.”

“Why should I bother submitting a guess? I already know you’re having a girl. You left the sonogram on the kitchen table.”

So in case you ever wonder why my sister isn’t speaking to me, you can ask her about the time I ruined her baby shower. You don’t have to take my word for it.

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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