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One Rash Choice
It’s dark, rainy, and cold outside. Almost everything seems to have a grayish tint to it. I watch the rain drop down from the gutter as I tap my cigarette and put it back to my mouth. If my mom ever found out I smoke she would kill me, but it’s not like I have to worry about the smell. Barbra smokes like a chimney. The smell gets on everything, and I mean everything, in the house is laced with the scent of Newports. At least I have the god damn common decency to go outside to light up. I don’t even know why I’m out here, I guess something about being outside relaxes me, even on a day like today where little droplets of water keep spitting through the screens of the porch and getting me wet.
I hear the phone rigging so I put my cigarette but in my empty soda can and go inside to get the phone.
“Dani, It’s mom. I have to go to a meeting tonight and I’m not going to be home ‘till late”
“Just heat up one of the frozen dinners”
“ I got it, mom”
“ok bye” Click
“Meeting” I mumble “Barbra meet scotch, scotch meet Barbra” the little joke to myself makes me laugh. She’s been saying that “meeting” crap to me since I was twelve. I can’t believe she hasn’t figured it out yet. I always knew that when she came home from her “meeting” she was drunk, not tired. What makes it worse is she always drives home like that. Usually she just gets plastered at home. Ever since my parents got divorced my mom’s alcoholism has gotten worse. She is almost always too drunk to make dinner or even get up the stairs to get to bed. So I end up doing all the motherly duties. One time I was cleaning up her vomit at four o’clock in the morning and then cooked her breakfast the next morning before school. God, I’m fifteen and I’m my mother’s freaking care giver.
Well, I’m not spending another night alone. I pick up the phone and dial another number, Danny’s, of course.
“Why hello there…the angel from my nightmare” he said.
“very funny, Daniel, my mom’s getting drunk tonight. Care to join me for dinner?”
“Hell yea! Pizza? Meat lovers?”
“If you pay. Barbra ‘borrowed’ all mine”
“Yup no worries I’m on my way” click
Danny is my best friend. We met at the park down the street when I was eight and he was nine. We thought that it was cool that our names were the same. Sometimes when I’m upset because my mom is passed out in a drunken stupor I’ll call him and we’ll just talk for hours, about nothing, he always makes me laugh when I’m sad.
Danny doesn’t bother to ring the bell because I’m waiting for him at the window. We exchange greetings, sit on the floor and start eating.
“Ya know I come over your house and we eat pizza almost every night now…not that I don’t like it just saying” Danny says with a big bite of pizza still in his mouth, gross.
“It’s because Barbra is forever at the bar now, I can’t remember that last time she was sober, I think she goes to work drunk, It’s a miracle she still has a job” I look away, afraid to tell Danny what I’m about to say. “I’m going to ask my dad if I can move in with him when I see him tomorrow” I need to get out of my mother’s house, but leaving my best friend is going to be hard. A friend that’s pretty much attached to my hip, A friend that has been around for years, A friend that recently, I’ve started to like, In a I love you, kiss me, now, sort of way.
“You’re going to leave for Cali” He said with a fake pout “ I’m gonna miss you, who’s going to eat pizza with me or sit in the passenger’s seat of my car?” …Danny got is license two weeks ago and is really, really happy about it. He’s always stays smiling in a serious situation. It’s one of the things I love about him. He puts down is slice and gives me a hug. I take in the smell of is Hollister cologne.
Dad’s rental car pulls into the driveway and I quickly toss away my cigarette. He too, would kill me if he found out. I get in the car and rush to put my seat belt on.
“Friendly’s?” my dad says. He takes me there every time I see him.
“Uh, Duh” I say. And we speed off.
When we get to the restaurant, I can barley force down my food. “Dad” I ask timidly “ Mom’s a drunk and I can’t take living with her anymore, so can I please, please live with you, it’s hell living with that woman.” I blurt it out.
Dad looks down at the table and put’s his head in his hands. “Dani, you know you can’t live with me” he looks up and sees my disappointed face. “My job requires me to go out of town all the time, even now I’m on a business trip, you can’t raise a child when you are in Japan every other week”
Tears start to fill my eyes “whatever dad, just take me home, I don’t want my Sunday, and by the way I’m fifteen I’m not a child” I storm off to the car and wait for my dad to pay the check
As we pull up to my house my dad tried to get in a few words “Hun, you know I love you but...” but I don’t want to hear it I slam the door and run up stairs.
My life is hell and it’s not getting any better, ever! My face is blotchy from crying so hard. I run into Barbra’s room and take her bottle of Ambian from the night stand. I go the kitchen and fill a glass with water and start taking the pills, one by one until they are gone. Feeling dizzy I pull a pen and paper out of the drawer and write a note:
Dear Mom and Dad,
You guys obviously don’t care about you daughter. So let me get rid of your burden.
I finish my suicide note just in time to watch it spin around and I pass out.
I wake in a white room to the beep of a machine. After some examination I realize the machine is my IV and I’m in the hospital.
“They pumped your stomach just in time” a soft voice says. The lady walks over and I see that it’s my mom, my sober mom. “Thank god I got fired from work today and came home early” she cracks a slight smile. “Your father and Danny are here too if you want to see them”
I nod, that’s all I can do I feel like I was hit by a truck. Then the truck backed over me. Dad and Danny walk in and they just stare at me. Danny is the first to break the silence.
“Hey Dani with and i” he used to call me that when we were little. “What were you thinking?. ”
Barbra tears up “I’m sorry for everything I ever put you through.”
“And I took some time off work, I’m going to stay in the hotel for a little while longer, in case you need me” my dad said.
I pick up my head just a little and say “thank you, can I have some time alone with Danny” They nod and leave, never taking their eyes off me until they step out of the room.
“Don’t you ever scare me like that again. I wouldn’t be able to deal without my best buddy” Danny says.
“I’m sorry” I think of telling him more, about how I feel about him, but I stop myself because I can’t take the heartache is my love is unrequited, not now. Instead I just close my eyes.
“No need to be sorry, just remember you can always talk to me” He leans in to give me a hug. I weakly wrap my arm around him. I wish he would kiss me. Like in the movies, he would just simply realize he love me and kiss me. But he just pulls away from the hug and asks me what I want to watch on the TV. I guess life never happens like it does in the movies.