A short story by Claudee McMillon
“Here we go again,” was all I could utter out my mouth as I walked in the house. I had a restless night, so my plans were to take it easy. I’d probably eat a little dinner and watch tv, just relax. Being on spring break from college caused me to stay out most nights with my friends, so I was adamant to let my body rest tonight.
I walked straight into the dining room and had a seat at our well-aged, oak wooden table set with the seats to match. It wasn’t too comfortable, but it was a great visual… at least it was when we first got it. The multiple fluid stains caused it to rust, making it look older than it was. Looking down at the stained rings, I could recall how each one came to be. Not to mention, the dozens of nearly emptied bottles didn’t help the décor much. I constantly reminded Marie that we had coasters for this very reason, but you would swear she was oblivious to the fact. I relaxed my eyes for a brief moment, knowing that I would more than likely not be able to get much rest in this house. All I wanted was a little peace, but when was it ever that easy?
“Hey,” daddy sighed sitting across from me at the dining room table.
“Hey daddy, where’s Marie?”
“I’m sure she’s not too far. She’s had a little fun today so try to keep your distance.”
“Yeah, I can tell.” I announced as I took a deep breath. I could smell the alcohol seeping through the walls, as if she deliberately left her mark. “Why isn’t she at work?” I asked. It was around one on a Wednesday afternoon and Marie worked a typical nine to five. I was honestly amazed she was able to maintain a job.
“She took the day off to get some things for the house.”
“Well did she?”
“Of course not.” I said, rolling my eyes so viciously I was sure to get a migraine.
“I’ve been waiting for you to get back so I could go get your sister from practice. I’ll probably take her for some ice-cream after. Don’t wait up for me,” daddy responded, kissing my forehead before getting up to leave the table. “Love you Jannie.”
I already knew “don’t wait up for me” meant and I didn’t blame him one bit. Breaks were very necessary when it came to dealing with Marie. Daddy was such a hard-working man. He was a truck driver that had long routes throughout the day and night, which caused him not to not be home on most days. I often felt bad for him, but he eased my mind with his good spirits.
“So I guess she’s my burden now, huh?” I shook my head in disbelief as I stood up to walk over to the couch. I plopped right in the middle of our fluffy tan couch, grabbed the remote, and cut the tv on. I heard the front door close, which I assumed to be daddy leaving the house. I flipped through the channels trying to find something worth watching and finally found one of my favorite movies, “The Heat”, with Melissa McCarthy and Sara Bullock. I loved this movie. I could watch it a million times, although I’m pretty sure I have.
“Hey, heyyyyyy.” she whispered walking over and standing directly in front of the tv with her hands on her hip. Her left leg was slightly lifted, which caused her right hand to continue to slip off, but each time it did, she placed it right back. Her eyes looked watery, although she hadn’t shed a tear. She had on an extra-large tee stained with vomit and alcohol. She wore some beat-down gray sweats and holey white socks. Her hair hung over her face as if she belonged in a grudge sequel. You could tell she rolled straight out of bed and into a bottle. She smelled like happy hour at the nearest bar mixed with yesterday’s food. It would have been overbearing to anyone else, but I’d been adjusted to it.
“What are those?”
“What are those?” she snatched the tights back causing them to pop.
“Stop. Stop it. These are my spanks, they hold everything together.”
“Why? What’s gonna come f***ing popping out?” the movie played on as I cracked a smile at the dispute between Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.
“Can you move?” my voice echoed, sounding very agitated as I increased the volume with the remote. “Pleaseeee?” I dragged my words as I noticed she still hadn’t moved a muscle.
“I jusss wannna knowww how my child, my child’s day wasssss.” She slurred her words, stumbling over towards the couch and sitting directly next to me, entirely too close for comfort. If she had been any closer, she might as well have sat on my lap. “You missed… your… mothaaaa?” she asked with very lengthy pauses in between. Her breath smelled of pure vodka, the plain kind, not one of the fruit flavored brands. If she drank, she needed it to be strong, not what the young ones’ drink, as she would say.
I didn’t bother responding. I simply moved over and tried by best to zone her out. I regularly wished she had a mute button. She might have been all smiles right now, but the other side of her was sure to show soon. I was so used to this, I practically waited for it. One second she would be full of laughter and the next, tears. All she needed was something, even as small as me not showing her the attention she longed for, for her to hit the switch on her drunken mood.
“Just like ya fathaaaa… None of you motherf***ers pay me any mind. Nobody gives a f*** about Marie,” she murmured, falling out of her seat like a child. That’s what she reminded me of anyway, a child. I had my own child I had to take care of without taking the time to create one. I couldn’t find the words to explain how much she angered me. She angered me so much that I couldn’t do anything but laugh. I let out a small chuckle as I once again began to increase the volume. I could tell that I made her mad. Long behold, the other side of Marie was peeking through the curtains.
“And what the hell you laughing atttt? Wass so goddamn funnnnny?” she asked as her face began to twist up. She was such a beautiful woman, but at this moment, there was nothing beautiful about her. She was 45, only 2 years younger than daddy, but looked no older than 25. She had smooth caramel-colored skin and beautiful, black curly hair. She began to push my shoulder repeatedly while continuously asking me “What the hellllll was so funny?” I began to grow more irate with each push and started to lose my cool. I don’t know how I allowed her to still get under my skin, but right now she was. I knew my dad wasn’t rushing to come back home, but I wished I could leave back out for another night.
Her pushes grew more intense as she began to rise off the couch. She cursed and carried on, rambling about Lord knows what. I had the tv at the highest volume and yet this 5-foot woman, weighing no more than 120, still managed to be louder. All I wanted was a little peace and quiet, which was nearly impossible in this house with Marie. With this being the last push I would allow, I deeply inhaled and stood up. I walked straight for the door, looking back at this devil in disguise. She had tears running down her cheeks as she continued to scream these inaudible words.
“I can’t do this with you today.” I said opening the front door and closing it before she had time to react. I know I was on “mom watch” but I felt as if I was coming pretty damn close to my breaking point. Enough was enough, and I honestly just wanted to enjoy my time off without the constant worry of my over-grown child.
I began to pace back and forth on the patio before having a seat on our hammock. I placed my head into my hot, sweaty palms and started to collect my thoughts. I wondered what could have gotten her to this point in life without truly caring enough to know the answer. I sat there for a few minutes and tried to clear my mind. BANGGGGG. I heard a loud crash in the house and could only begin to imagine what she could possibly done.
I opened the front door to see all the bottles on our oak table smashed on the floor and caught myself in a frozen state. I stared at the rings on the table recalling the first stain Marie made the night of my high-school graduation two years back. I remember daddy having a long route the night before into the morning of, and him ending up showing up right before the ceremony ended. I remember them arguing the whole night which concluded with her staining the table with a bottle of Ketel One. I shook my head once awakening from my flashback to see a raging Marie sitting in a pile of glass, sobbing like a newborn it’s first night home. Oh, Marie.