Are You There?

| March 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

I waited with anticipation as my savior pulled up to my driveway: the yellow cheese wagon that would to take me to school.

Hey Jenny! The kids teased. Still wearing the same clothes since kindergarten?

The jokes didn’t bother me. I didn’t care as long as I got to leave.

Homeroom started, and my teacher handed back last week’s exams.

A-

Slightly under my usual, but good enough. I still had higher grades than anyone else in the 8th grade.

Science class was welcomed by my daily stomach ache. It was stronger this time, my head was pounding and my vision was getting blurry.

No matter, I was good at covering things up.

I proceeded with the day like I always do: paying attention in all my classes, making good grades, and not talking to anyone. Lunch eventually rolled around; I sat at my usual table next to the garbage can. It was the only place where I could sit alone.

The rest of the day was a drag, and it was homeroom again before I knew it.

After she dismissed the class, Ms. Lauren asked me if everything was ok. She said I seemed a little “off” today.

Of course I am, I responded. Why wouldn’t I be?

No reason in particular, she said. Just wanted to make sure I was ok.

My stomach ache intensified on the cheese wagon. I felt like my body was going to explode. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I was trembling as I walked down the hallway into the living room. I knew she’d be drinking, she always was.

Mom, I said as I entered the room. I need to talk to you.

I didn’t know what I was about to do. All I knew was that I was frightened and unafraid, but I knew I had to do something.

She was spread out on the couch surrounded by the evidence of her day’s work: eight bottles of rum littered on the floor. They were the only signs of life.

I came closer to her.

I took a deep breath, preparing myself. I crouched down next to her. Mom, I want you to know that I really care about you. I really think it’s time you get help.

She kept drinking.

Mom, I’m scared for you. I really really am. Everyday when I get off the bus, you’re passed out on the couch where you were in the morning. And I’m always the one cooking and cleaning for us, and it’s really hard. It really really sucks to have a mom who can’t remember their only kid’s birthday. I hate covering up for you with my good grades and telling my teachers that everything’s fine when it’s not. It’s so frustrating when the electricity randomly shuts off because you didn’t pay the fucking bill! I’m too busy taking care of you to have a life! And it’s extra not fair because I remember when you weren’t like this! I remember when I was a kid and you were so awesome and you took me to the zoo and you cooked really nice meatloaf and I would do anything to have just one day like that with you!!!

I was full out sobbing.

I kept sobbing.

I kept hoping that maybe, finally, she’d look at me. She hadn’t given me any sign that I existed in the same space as her for years.

Mom?

She kept drinking.

Mom? I asked again, looking for something, anything, in those lost eyes. Did you hear me?

She kept drinking.

Are you there?

featured photo credit: ThoseGuys119 First Student #351 via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy

Nisha Kishore

About the Author ()

He is a junior studying Comparative Literature and HUMANgles, a major she created exploring human behavior through various intersecting disciplines. She is a third degree black belt in Taekwondo. They were a chess champion at age 8. He does not like it when she is put in a "box" because of their race, "gender," or life circumstances. They use their writing and visual art (ig @nisha.pause) to defy such boxes and create alternate experiences of reality. Nisha identifies with many genders.

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