The glimpses of my past race slowly through my mind as the pills make me drowsy.
My mother’s voice sounds, condescending and condemning as always. You did this to yourself. I raised you as best I could, and you threw it all away because you couldn’t keep your legs together. Look what you have to show for your life — nothing but misery.
I inch toward the edge of the table, a centimeter at a time. It’s already hard to breathe. This is best for everyone.
I hear my estranged father next, even though he hasn’t spoken to me in close to 11 years. Just like your mother, you are. Have to drive the men right out of your life with your irresponsibility and unpleasantness. How many fathers do your kids have? I’m ashamed you’re my daughter.
Another inch, and my youngest daughter’s words from last week replay themselves. I’m pregnant, and I’m moving in with Jason and his family. We don’t want you in our baby’s life; don’t try to contact me.
My baby, I think, and a tear slips down my cheek. The youngest of my 10 children. I tried so hard for my kids, to have at least one of them turn out differently than me. I can’t teach what I don’t know, and they all followed in my footsteps. I’ve created and ruined 10 lives.
I reach for the flask in my pocket, this will be my last drink ever. I can’t help but smirk at that thought since I’ve thought that same sentence thousands of times in the past 30 years. This will truly be the last one.
The rope is tight, making it hard to swallow, but I force the vodka down my throat. It burns pleasantly; my old, familiar friend. My only friend now.
I close my eyes, hoping to just fade away, and my eldest son speaks to me from our last visit. My first-born child, the one who entered my life when everything was a game, so much fun. They’re treating me okay, I guess I can’t complain. I started a GED class and I’ve been going to AA meetings. Not like I’ll ever have any use for a GED but it helps me kill the time in here.
Another tear slides out and I empty the flask in my mouth, drop it to the floor with a startling crash of metal on cement that echoes through the nearly empty garage. I wait patiently for each of my children’s voices but so much time has passed since I’ve spoken to most of them that nothing is left. Ten children, and so many grandchildren I’ve never met, yet so alone. No pictures with Santa Claus, no family reunions with toddlers chasing soccer balls, no swimming lessons, no idyllic life for my family. I tried my best.
I hear my mother nagging for hopefully the last time as I wobble on the table top. A bad investment, that’s what your life is. Random men, booze, drugs — what good did any of that do for you? You should have invested in yourself, been a better person for your kids. Her last words to me, so many months ago.
The mix of pills and alcohol are finally making my vision dim. I hope the rope holds, I think, as blackness takes me and my legs buckle.
(PS – my assignment was drama, mother of 10 children, a bad investment – just in case you were wondering…)
Just what you wanted today – my long-awaited second story for the NYC Midnight short story challenge. Cross fingers I get to the finals! A big THANK YOU you to my test readers for your input.
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Travel Writing on JenniferSAlderson.com
Indie Reader Review for Sylvie Writes a Romance