Archive for the ‘addiction’ Category

I was eight on the rainy April day that Grandma died. She woke, served up Grandpa’s usual breakfast, fed the cat and went to the porch for the morning paper. She didn’t return. Grandpa found her reaching for the door, sharing her love for him with her eyes as she took her final breath. I knew something was wrong the minute my mother answered the phone and fell into a chair with my little brother clinging to her leg. I remember dad taking the phone from her hand but the rest of the day was a blur of hospitals, family and men in suits shoving endless forms at Grandpa. Mom put on a brave face, but cried when she thought she was alone. She wasn’t ready to lose her mom. A funeral was arranged and family gathered. All I remember after that is how sad and alone Grandpa looked.
After the funeral things went back to normal, my brother and I went to school and dad went to work. The only thing different was my mom spending her days with her father, going through legal papers and personal items. She looked tired and sad at the end of the day and I didn’t know how to make things better. Three days after the funeral I came home from school, dropped my backpack on the floor and headed to the fridge. I grabbed a soda and pudding snack before settling at the table. The house was still quiet, dad was at work, my little brother was with a sitter and mom was with her dad. I listened to the old mantle clock tick off the minutes as I mindlessly shoveled in the pudding, wondering if life would ever be normal again. Mom hadn’t even opened the mail, there was a pile at least two inches thick sitting on the table. Sliding the pile closer I picked up envelope after envelope. Credit card offer, electric bill, cable bill, val-pak coupons, sale flyers, insurance bill, nothing special. Then I saw it, the bright red envelope with my name scrolled across the front.
She remembered her heart skipping a beat as she pulled it from the pile, looking it over before she got the nerve to slide her thumb under the flap. She had never received real mail before and wanted to do it right. Proud that she had barely frayed the glued flap she slowly pulled out the contents. It  was a card. On the front was a cartoon woman with gray hair,  her freakishly long arms wrapped around a large family of children and adults, pulling them close to her. With trembling fingers she opened the card, it read “Happy Birthday! You are loved today and always.” It was simply signed “your family,” but she recognized the handwriting, it was Grandma’s. Picking up the envelope she noticed that the return address was that of her grandma’s house. Pulling the card to her chest she let herself cry for the first time since she died. It was a long, hard cry that left her drained, but the card had felt like Grandma reached out with one last hug. The rest of her family came  home, they ate dinner and she went to bed, but not before securing the card, in the envelope in her diary.
Summer came and went that year and life was a new normal. It wasn’t until fall that my mom looked sad again. When I asked her why, she said that her mom’s birthday was coming up and she didn’t know how to handle things with her dad. I thought about that a lot at school and at home. Grandpa had looked so lost lately I wanted to do something to make him feel better. Then I remembered the card. it made me feel better, maybe it would make him feel better. I raced home after school, dug out the card and put it envelope and all in a new envelope, carefully wrote out his address and took a stamp from mom’s desk. My little brother followed me to the porch.
“Where ya going?” He asked.
“To the mailbox.”
“Why?”
“To mail a letter?” I snapped.
“To who? What kind of letter?” He persisted.
“None of your business squirt!” I shouted, running the last few feet.
I remember feeling a bit bad over snapping at my brother and taking his hand on the walk home. He seemed to accept that as an apology. Days passed as I wondered if my gesture would make grandpa feel worse instead of better. Then one Saturday morning the doorbell rang, I heard Grandpa ask to see me. I entered the hall and he pulled me into his strong arms and whispered “thank you” in my ear. He said it felt like grandma had come for a visit.
That was ten long years ago, I’m nineteen years old and a lot of life had passed under the bridge since then. Family gatherings stopped, no more Christmas Eve dinners at Grandma’s, no more forced Sunday dinners, no more summer camping trips arranged by Grandma. Grandpa died two years back, I missed the funeral. My parents live their life and have all but given up on me. My little brother, set to graduate high school this year, is a computer nerd devoted to technology, there is little room for humans in his world. And me? I have a life, not the life my parents planned. I work various bar jobs, pole dance when Moe needs a fill in dancer and am not above a good night of drinking. I may or may not, use my own money to pay bills, but if a customer is dumb enough to leave  his wallet on the bar while he attends a lap dance, is that my fault?
I served another round to table four, slapped away Dwayne’s hands at table two and made my way to the kitchen. My shift was over, all I wanted to do was gather my tips, get a few drinks and head home. A few drinks turned into ten and getting home was a bit tougher that I thought. I tossed my heels into my locker, fell into my sneakers, tied what I thought was a passable bow and slapped the back door open, stumbling into the alley. I crawled to my feet as the scenery spun around. I focused on the neon drug store sign as I knew that was the direction I need to take. I stumbled down the walk, feeling good, sure I was looking normal. Sure, I bounced off the wall a few times, and into a gentleman who called me a drunk as he put me back on my feet, but I was doing ok. I went another block and found myself on my knees, my forehead on a fire hydrant. Phew, if I had fallen a second later, that could have hurt! Back on my feet I gripped the smooth window of the diner until I felt the rough brick, then turned right. Only twenty feet more and I would be home. The cement block felt rough under my fingers as I used it to guide my way. Soon I felt the splintered wood frame around my door. Diving into my pocket I fumbled my way through lip gloss, bent lottery tickets and old receipts until I found my keys. It took a few tries, but I got that sucker in the slot and the lock clicked open. I clung to the wall as I made my way up the stairs. I remember trying to put the key in the upstairs lock, but I must have failed.
A ray of morning sun, creeping through a badly cracked window cruelly pried my eyes open. I wiped the spit drying at the corner of my mouth and rolled to my side, realizing that I was on the filthy tile outside my apartment door. Rolling on my back I started to rise, stopping when I saw the flash of red. Sitting up I moved back to rest on the door as I inspected the envelope. I tore it open just as carefully as i had the first time. It was a card, with an elderly woman with long arms embracing her family. Inside it said, “Happy Birthday! You are loved today and always.” It was simply signed “your family,”
Pulling out my phone, I checked the calendar, it was indeed my birthday. Grandma had reached out again. Putting the card in  her pocket she entered the apartment, packed her meager belongings and bought a bus ticket home.

Picture it & write it is a fun, flash fiction group that meets weekly. Read the stories or submit your own HERE.

tumblr_mphx4vz34s1qzz8m7o1_500

2021 in the U.S.A. wasn’t pleasant. Special interest groups and big money had legislated the country into an unbearable stew pot of chaos.

Slang words, racially descriptive words, such as Caucasian or Latino were illegal. It was also illegal to possess soda, beer or liquor. A strict dress code was enforced and anyone caught frying food was jailed and subjected to rigorous dietary training. Persons caught smoking or using narcotics were put to death in public displays designed to set an example. Anyone caught in a relationship with a same-sex partner was castrated or mutilated in some way and sent to live in a desolate penal camp.

“Normal” couples wishing to have children underwent rigorous testing. Those  found lacking were denied. If they committed a crime, had arthritis, asthma or were otherwise deemed unsuitable, they were denied. If they couldn’t  maintain state health insurance they were denied. Abortion was illegal unless ordered by the state. If you were pregnant and didn’t pass state mandates, your pregnancy was terminated. Any child born with undetected illness was put down.

The obese were locked away until they reached normal levels. Once released they were re-checked,  if they regained weight they were terminated. Senior citizens were put down at the first sign of illness.

A new revolution formed, no muskets,  just the same desire for freedom. The first to fall were the insurance carriers who guided laws in the name of public health, while making millions. Next came the corrupt government. The movement could succeed, or they could die, but they had to try.

pictureitandwrite2copy-1

What if today was my “This is my Done” day? What if today was the day I took my last breath? Fini, game over, you’re outta here day!

Did I do something to be proud of? Was I kind to someone? Did I take a moment to enjoy myself, or do something to enrich my life?

Or did I get up, grumble, snarl, procrastinate, complain and do nothing to better my day or the day of another?

I don’t know when I will go, I do know that today wasn’t my “done day,” so I am going to think about this when I rise. The last thing I want is for my last words being angry or critical. Kids need guidance and discipline, but I need to find a way to do both so they aren’t left with only the  criticism. I need to find a way for my mate to know I may have been angry over one of their actions, but I love them we would have worked through it.

If today was not your “done day,” you have time to rethink things and stack the deck in your favor.

When the memories came, they tore at her stomach with icy fingers and hijacked her mind. It didn’t matter if she was hunched over a keyboard, or in a green room preparing for a T.V. appearance. The terror would suck her into the seedy, addiction fueled  violence that was her youth.  A time when her mother lived in the bottom of a bottle and her father, who refused to admit he was part of the problem, expected her to care for the house, and her mother. If she failed to meet his standards, she was rewarded with cigarette burns and beatings. She was ten when one of his lessons left her bleeding, with loose teeth and a broken rib on the bathroom floor.

Huddled on the bed, she waited for him to pass out before slipping out the window. Wracked with pain, she made her way to the local hospital, after that, things got blurry. Confusion reigned as they tried to find her parents and more importantly, who would pay the bill. Eventually they called in a social worker, who, after one look at the battered girl, set the wheels in motion to secure a better life for her.

Reluctant at first, and afraid of her father’s reaction, she begged them to let her go home, but her mentor refused, eventually making her see that her parents needed help and that what was good for her, was not one of their priorities. After bouncing in and out of a few foster homes, she met her new parents and discovered a talent for writing that they encouraged. Over the years, her body had healed, but her mind wore band-aids, ready to fall off at any time.

Now, she was a successful author. Two of her books had been adapted for the big screen and she was working on a Broadway play. At the age of thirty-three she had met a man who just may be the one she would grow old with. She had money, a great house and a few friends she could count on.  Life was good. Her mother had died years earlier, but her father had tried to make contact a few times, hoping to cash in on her fame and fortune, she ignored him.

Jumping as the intercom sprung to life, instructing her to head to the set, she thought about her organization and the kids and women it would help. Vowing to get as many of them out of violent situations as she could, she took a deep breath and headed to the stage to sell her latest book, the one with fifty percent of the proceeds going to the “Kids First” organization. She rose from the ashes, now it was time to help others fly!