Fourth and Down

1 min readOct 22, 2021

by Brad Foster, 2021(c)

Photo by Dilyara Garifullina on Unsplash

His birthday cake blazes with a dozen candles. The child doesn’t need to think long, for his wish remains the same from when the candles had numbered less than half. The flames sputter and shift as if to match the rhythm of the adults shifting on their feet.

“Come on now, son, blow out the candles,” says his father while glancing at his watch.

Along with his breath, the child holds the wish in his mind and heart a moment longer, and then blows out the candles in one massive gale. A smattering of claps, and then his father, uncles, and cousins are rushing from the room. They’ll hustle to grab their refreshments and turn to the game, hoping they hadn’t missed much of the football game.

There’s always been one going on during the holidays with which the child shares his birthday. Upstairs, the child is alone amidst colorfully wrapped presents. The wish did not come true, and this will be the last year he believes in them.


This is what I do: I drink and I write things.