Somewhat Above the Influence

Kayla stood next to me, holding a Bud Light in her right hand and a cigarette on her left. The kids in the corner had offered some to me too, but I declined. I had sports to think about next season and I did not want to get busted for smoking. The boy across from me with the jet black hair and dazzling blue eyes looked up at me while taking a sip of his beer. He held a lingering stare for nearly twenty seconds before turning to light another cigarette. I stared down at my toes and scratched off some purple nail polish that Kayla had painted on almost two months ago. I looked over at Kayla’s toes: black. They weren’t always that color because I remember I painted her toes bright blue at the same time she painted mine purple. But so many things have changed since then I guess I shouldn’t be worrying about the color of her nail polish.
I sat up and covered my mouth with my shirt because the smell of the basement was so awful. To tell you the truth, I guess I would have been gone by now if it wasn’t for Kayla persuading me to stay. And if I had left I wouldn’t know where to go since I wasn’t quite sure where I was. So I stayed only expecting to be here for about twenty minutes, but instead it been almost three hours of sitting in blinding smoke and silence. By this point I think Kayla’s drunk enough to leave without protest since she fell asleep while I was chipping my toe nail polish. So I stood up and pulled her to her feet by her arms.
“Let’s go, Kayla. It’s getting late.” I said while dragging her across the floor. She moaned, rubbing her eyes. “Come on! I gotta get home.” She moaned again but somehow made her way to her feet.
“Okay.” She said. “I’ll drive.”
“We don’t have a car we have to walk, remember?” God, she was out of it. What gave her the idea that she was allowed to drive? She’s only 14.
“I’ll call my mom. She can come and get us. She won’t care if I’m drunk,” Kayla slurred.

She took out her phone and told me to dial her mom’s number, and I had to talk so that her mother wouldn’t get worried by Kayla’s slurring of words.
“Hey, Ms. Finnigan, it’s Lauren.”
“Thank god I heard from you, is Kayla okay?” Her mom actually sounded like she cared for once.
“Yeah she’s fine, but we need a ride home.”
“Of course,” there was a long pause “Where exactly are you?” Oops. I didn’t quite think of that. What was I supposed to say? ‘I don’t know because you’re daughter dragged me to a random crack house and is currently drunk and has no idea what she’s saying’? I don’t think so.
“You know what? Never mind, we’ll find our way home.” I looked down at Kayla who fell asleep on my leg while I was on the phone. “Do you think Kayla could sleep over my house tonight?”
“Sure, I don’t see why not. Does she have clothes?”
“I’ll loan her some. Bye, Ms. Finnigan.” I hung up and started lugging Kayla around on my back. If I walked down the street I bet there would be a sign of where we were. I threw Kayla over my shoulder and flipped her over so that it appeared as if I were giving her a piggy back ride.

I remember last year she was arguably the best point guard that Kittleson Middle School had ever seen. I went to all of her games and along with me the whole school came just to see her tear up the court. The high school coach came, too. He seemed impressed because every time she made a good play, he nodded and wrote a few notes down on his clipboard.

But then her life changed.

Kayla and I used to have another friend, Pember, that ditched us in the 7th grade for another group of girls. Those girls got into smoking and drinking and Pember did, too. Having Pember leave us was probably the hardest thing that had ever happened to us in all of middle school, and Kayla was taking it pretty hard since she was friends with her since they were in diapers. So at one point, Kayla ran back to Pember, and got into smoking and drinking as well. I was on the sidelines, always tagging along. I saw what had happened to my friends, and soon, Kayla gave up sports. I didn’t want that to happen to me with soccer, so ever since then, I’ve always been there, tagging along with them. I was also there when Pember and her “friends” told Kayla and I that they didn’t want us around anymore. Kayla and I have been the only people that held the other up, and sometimes I regret being Kayla’s friend. I wanted to have a normal life, like every other 14 year old girl in middle school.

We reached the end of the road and I saw flashing lights up ahead of us. Oh crap. I started to turn around but someone tapped on my shoulder. I kept walking, shrugging it off.
“Hey!” someone said behind me. “Stop right there and take your friend of your back.” I turned around and lifted Kayla off my back. The guy who yelled at me was a police officer. Not. Good.
“Sorry officer, I’m just trying to get home.”
“Yeah, but you smell like smoke. And what about your friend there?” he said, pointing to Kayla. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s fine.”
He stared at me, and then back to Kayla, and then to me, and then to Kayla, and then back to me. “Come with me.”

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He brought us to his car and gave both me, and Kayla, the breathalyzer test which I passed and she failed. He also said we had both been smoking, which I didn’t argue about since I reeked of smoke. He made Kayla walk a line that he laid down on the street and she fell over halfway across. He loaded her into the car with cuffs.

“You can stay. You seem like a nice kid, and your breath doesn’t stink like this one’s. Take this as a warning.”
I nodded. “But, wait! What are you gonna do with her?”

He laughed at my question and looked up at me, “I’m bringing her to the station so her parents can pick her up, there.” He started his engine, and drove away as I waved to Kayla who was slowly fading away in the back seat. I looked down at my feet and kept telling myself that I was lucky. But, I wasn’t. My friend was a drunk, Pember was gone, and I was alone on the street with nowhere to go. Yup. Lucky me.





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