The Morning Lake

3:43 Am, another sleepless night for Anna as she returned to the kitchen for the bottle and an empty cup. She set the glass down on the counter and then filled it halfway with the familiar poison. She raised the cup to her lips, swallowed hard and gulped it down. She hung her head, resting her hands on the counter, as her mind traveled back to the painful memory.

This was the same process she had repeated for weeks now and would most likely continue to repeat for weeks to come. Night after night, bottle after bottle, her body lingered around the kitchen as her mind raced to other places, the same places. Her dark dirty hair hung in front of her face, as she closed her eyes only to see the flashing lights of the sirens.

When she arrived on the scene, a police officer greeted her just as she was getting out of her car. A concerned look on his face, he removed his hat when he asked her,

“Are you the mother?”

“Ye-s…”she gasped, noticing the scattered debris from the wreck, “What happened?” He was hesitant to tell her that her only son was just killed by a drunk driver, but someone had to tell her. When the officer finally spoke, she fell to her knees and broke down in tears hysterically. She covered her face with her hands but nothing could mask her tears and screams.

“I’m terribly sorry,” he said softly, kneeling beside her. He put his hand on her shoulder, but she continued to scream louder.

Still standing at the kitchen counter, she grasped her glass in one hand and the bottle in the other. She brought them both over to the table and sat down where she proceeded to pour herself another glass full. She sipped this one slowly, letting the warm liquid sting and tickle her throat on its way down. Putting the glass down again, she leaned back in her chair; her grimy, unwashed hair brushed her cheeks and her long, filthy fingernails clawed at the corner of the table. It was mostly silent, except for the occasional clicks of the furnace and the sound of her minor scratching at the table.

She sat there, sipping and scratching; she did this so perfectly so routine it was almost unconsciously. She scratched and scratched with such resentment and such detest as she looked for something to be mad at. The drunk driver of course was who she despised most of all; he was the one she wished dead, not her son. She so badly wished for anything to bring her son back, she would do whatever it took: any amount of hatred or any single act. But she couldn’t. There was nothing she could do to bring her son back, and that was why, every night, she drank and cried herself to sleep at the kitchen table.

She thought about the drunk driver; she couldn’t believe how drunk he must have been in order to take a life, to take her son’s life. “D*** him!” she said aloud, choking on the words. She slammed her fist down on the table and then watched as the glass and the bottle bounced. Her gaze fixed on the bottle, she thought about the man and she thought about how drunk he must have been… As quick as the bottle bounced, she sprang up out of her chair, snatched the bottle up and raced to the kitchen sink. Right then and there she turned the bottle upside down and watched every last drop go down the drain.

Her body shook with anger as she turned and tossed the empty bottle into the trash can. Then as she turned back she felt the warmth of the early morning sun coming through the window above the sink and onto her face. Right at that moment all of her anger seemed to leave her like the blackness of the night disappearing with the sunrise. She looked out the window at the beautiful acreage behind her house. She looked out beyond her backyard and past the trees and out onto the lake that seemed to stretch on forever. She marveled at the beauty and magnificence of the golden rays gleaming off the surface of the lake. She immediately thought of her son and she knew that he was ok.

She stayed there for a few minutes admiring the morning beauty before turning again to head back to bed, but after a few steps she stopped for one last good look. She looked out onto the morning lake to where she knew her son was and to where she knew she would one day be.





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