Just Hang On

By
Two years ago, my dad went insane. Nobody knows what got into him, but what ever it was, it wasn’t the loving and caring dad I grew up with. June 13, 2006 at 9:35 pm. I was in my room and I had just gotten off the phone. Then I heard a shot, which sounded way to close. I saw my mom running toward where the shot had come from… my older brother Dan’s room at the end of the hall. I heard a scream, which within a few seconds was cut off. Now knowing that the shot had come from just down the hall and hearing my mothers scream indicating something was wrong, I called 911. The police and paramedics were here within ten minutes.

Since I saw my mom running down the hall, I haven’t seen or heard anything. “Where are Dan and mom?” was all that was running through my head. I thought my dad was still out, until I saw him walking past my door, with a smile and handcuffed. The worse memory of my life. That is until I say the paramedics taking my brother out on a stretcher covered in a white sheet. My mom was following them, tears streaming down her face. She saw me sitting on my bed with a scared look. She came in slowly. I already knew what she was going to say, so instead of her telling me that my brother was dead and my dad was crazy, I got up and walked over to her and gave her a hug. We stood there for almost fifteen minutes.

“Just hang in there Elise, just hang in there,” was all she could manage to say, “It’ll be alright.”
***


I’m sixteen years old now. My mom and I moved to California last year for her job. I am a sophomore at Bay View High School. It’s been great so far. I have made a lot of friends and I have a boyfriend, Todd. My friends and Todd are the only people I can talk to about what has happened and they know that I hate people feeling sorry for me and acting fake to make me feel better. I don’t want to go to my mom, afraid that she will start crying again just like she does almost every night when she prays for Dan. I talk to him when times are tough, hoping that some way, some how he will help me.
Even though I live only three blocks away from school, Todd still picks me up. Usually every morning he asks the same thing, “How are you?” and instead of lying and saying I’m fine, I actually tell him and he actually really listens. But when I got in his car today it was different.
“Don’t make any plans tonight.” He told me smiling.
Confused I ask “ And why not?”
“ I’m taking you out tonight. Dinner and a movie, is that okay?”
“Yeah, it is.” As I answered I smiled, happily


Todd is that kind of guy everybody knows but he isn’t popular. He’s a year older than me, a junior. I first saw him about six months ago at the mall. I was looking through a rack of clothes and I looked up and saw him leaving. He looked over and I was staring. He smiled and ran into a table right in front of him. He tripped over it and I laughed quietly. I went over to see if he was okay. Next thing I know, we are sitting at the food court eating McDonalds. We go to each other for everything and we trust each other more than almost anyone else.

The school day seemed to fly by. Well it was Friday and I couldn’t wait to go out tonight. I need a break from everything that went on this week. Four tests and two quizzes which meant I had non-stop studying all week, and an essay. On top of that my mom has been working late for the past two weeks. I just really need a break and have some fun.

Todd dropped me off at my house around three o’clock. I called my mom when I got inside, telling her that I would be gone tonight until about 10:30. I got my massive amounts of homework done in about two hours. It was now 5:15. I had forty-five minutes of free time to get ready. Todd was picking me up at six. I went to my closet and picked out my favorite top, a long green and white striped tee, and denim shorts. I went over my hair with the straightener and did my make up. Just as I finished cleaning up the mess I had made, the doorbell rang.

I went downstairs and as I made my way to the door, I glanced at the clock. 5:45. Todd was almost never early. I can only recall one other time he was. I opened the door. He was standing there wearing a long-sleeved light blue shirt and kaki shorts. He had a single white lily in his hand.

“You look nice,” he said handing me the flower.

“Thanks” I replied back. He leaned down and kissed me.

I closed the door. Todd went to sit on the couch when I went to go get my purse and a jacket incase it was cold in the movie theater like it always was.

On my way out of the house I grabbed my phone that was on the table next to the door. I locked and closed the door. I walked over to Todd’s car and got in. When we got to the restaurant we didn’t have a wait. We were seated at a small booth towards the back.

We were at the restaurant for about an hour. We sat there and ate and talked. Once we were done we went back to Todd’s car. It was a fifteen-minute ride from the restaurant to the movie theater. We were in the car for about ten minutes when my phone started to ring. “Mom” flashed across the screen. I answered it.

“ Hey mom.”
“ Is this Elise?” a man’s voice said.
“ Um… yes this is Elise.” I replied scared.
“ Hello. This is Officer Wilson. I would like to inform you that your mother has just been in an accident.”
My mouth dropped, I looked over at Todd and he was looking at me. He knew something was wrong. He pulled in to a Target parking lot knowing that by the way my face looked we wouldn’t be making it to the movies tonight.
“ She is at St. Mary’s hospital in critical condition.” He continued when I didn’t respond.
“ I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Please tell her I’m on my way.”
“ I will. I will be outside the emergency room entrance on the west side of the building. I will give you all the details when you arrive.”
“ Thanks Officer Wilson. Bye.”
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and sunk in my seat a bit.
“ Is everything okay?” Todd asked and he took my hand, startling me a little.
“ No, we need to go to St. Mary’s.” I told him, tears forming in my eyes.
“ What happened?”
“ My mom… she got in an accident.”
Right after I said “my mom” he was pulling out of the parking lot on his way to the hospital. He didn’t need anymore explaining. This is one of those times that I knew he would be there for me no matter what happened. While we drove to the hospital, it was totally silent. Todd still held my hand and that’s how I knew that everything would be alright.

When we got to the hospital, the officer told us that a drunk driver had hit my mom’s car dead on. At the moment she wasn’t doing the best, she could still talk but she couldn’t move. She was hooked up to life support and she wanted to be let go. She knew it would be hard for me, not having any family left. She wanted to be left alone with Todd for a minute, but it had no clue why she would want to talk to him without me there. He told me later that night that tomorrow after she was taken off the support, my mom had made him promise that he would take care of me. She could trust him and so could I.

The next day was the hardest for my mom and I. She was being let off life support at three. She didn’t want me there when they did it. She wanted me to be gone for that. She said that even when she was gone that she would feel terrible if I had to see her die. That last moment with her was the best ever. She told me she loved me and that she will always be with me. All day, everyday. She said that I should trust Todd. She talked to his mom last night and my mom said that Todd’s mom said I could stay with them in the guest room until I went to college.

It’s now been a month since my mom left. I’m back at school and staying with Todd’s family. His mom is there for me when I need to talk and he is too. My dad tried to call me once he found out what happened and I still can’t forgive him for what he did.

I pray for my mom every night. I know she will always love me and will be there for everything. Yeah, I still wish she was here, but in way she is and will always be. If there was one thing I could say to her right now, it would be “ Thank you and I love you.”





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