I opened my eyes and stretched my arms and legs from my body. I rubbed my eyes and glanced at the clock on my bedside table. 8:23 pm. Shit.
Leaping out of the bed like a ninja, I rushed to the bathroom to get ready. I was supposed to just take a nap, a short nap, but somehow I overslept. I turned on the bathroom light and flinched when the light hit my eyes. There was so much to do in such a short time. Brush my teeth, shower, comb my hair.
I walked out of my room, now fully dressed in a black Led Zeppelin t-shirt, dark blue jeans, and my golden cross chain. Walking downstairs, I checked my phone. 8:41 pm, Saturday. I won’t lie, I was feeling good about myself, after all, this was a day to be remembered. After getting my license a month ago, this was the first time I would be driving somewhere by myself.
I made my way into the kitchen, just for a snack before I left. Mom was waiting for me at the table, coffee in hand. I felt something drop in the pit of my stomach. Judging by that look on her face, I was about to get a lecture. Sadly, I was right.
“Almost missed the party, I see.” She said, raising an eyebrow over her mug.
“Yeah, but I’m ready now, I’m just getting a snack.” I replied and went over to kiss her on the cheek.
“Now Kenny, before you leave,let’s go over this one last time, just so we’re clear,”
Here it comes. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times.
“The streetlights just came on, but it’s still dark outside. Pay attention to the road and no texting while driving.”
“C’mon mom, I’ve driven with you at night before, how’s that any different from tonight?”
“Tonight, I won’t be there. I want you to behave the same way you normally would if I was right there with you.”
I went over to the fridge to see what I could find. There was an uneasy silence in the kitchen that mom broke when she loudly slurped her coffee. She never does that, so she must’ve done it on purpose. I suddenly felt nauseous and lost my appetite. Just as I was closing the fridge, her voice startled me.
“And another thing. I hear the music you kids listen to nowadays. The Billboard charts are littered with songs about partying and drinking. I’m not saying you can’t have your fun, but make sure you do not drink tonight.”
“I know mom. I…”
“Promise me Kenneth. Promise me that you will not drink tonight.”
Silence engulfed us once more. We waited for 9 pm, the time I would leave.
At 8:55, I ran around the house to grab some last minute stuff – my wallet, shoes, backpack, and keys. I checked my phone once again, the time 9:00 pm staring back at me. I left through the front door and towards my car parked in the driveway. I got in the driver’s seat, started the engine, and was just about to pull out when I saw mom standing at the front door waving. Although there was a smile on her face, I could see hope and nervousness in her eyes. I waved back, shifted the car into reverse, and drove off into the night.
I got to the party safely and went up to the front door. It was open like Eric said it would be. I stepped inside, the sweet scent of fruits and chips greeted me at the door. There were bodies dancing, snaking together on the dancefloor while “Like A G6” played through the speakers. I made my way across the crowded dancefloor, lights of all colors illuminating the room.
The refreshments table was a wonderland of all kinds of stereotypical party snacks. Chips, cupcakes, and of course – alcohol. Rum, Vodka, and beer all sat there before me, tempting me with their colorful bottles. Remembering the promise I made to mom, I just grabbed a cup of Pepsi and went to go mingle.
I made conversation with a few girls in the room, but my focus constantly fell to the liquor on the table. Somehow, whenever I would glance away for a second, I would see liquor. If not on the table, then in the hands of people walking by. After a while, I gave in. The strong smell of fruity alcohol was too much to bear. Putting the promise I made to mom behind me, I made my way over to the refreshments table. Just a cup. I thought. One cup wouldn’t hurt.
A few hours and many cups of liquor later, the guests began leaving the party. I started to walk to the exit, but my vision was blurry, and I felt a dizziness in my head. It felt like I had spun around in circles.
I did my best to stand up straight as I tried to regain a hold of my senses. I ended up staggering like a tower of Jenga. Everything would be fine. I would drive home carefully, and avoid mom so she wouldn’t see me trip, hear me slur, or smell my Vodka-infused breath. I started the engine of my car and began the return home.
My head rolled left and right as I gripped the steering wheel as best I could. Controlling my movement was hard enough, but now I had to actually squint my eyes to focus on the road in front of me. The blurry white and yellow lines teased my senses.
Straight ahead, I saw a pair of headlights coming right towards me. To my horror, I had been driving on the wrong side of the road.
Smoke filled the air and the sound of sirens hovered around me. I could barely open my eyes, but when I did, there were a bunch of people kneeling over me. My skin felt cold and I realized that I was lying on the street. I turned my head and saw my car totaled against a tractor trailer. Blood everywhere.
It hurt to breathe. My lungs were working too hard and I could feel my heartbeat slowing down.
A few minutes ago, I was at a party and everyone was smiling. Here, nobody was having fun and not a single person cracked a smile. I thought about mom and my broken promise. I couldn’t turn back the hands of time and fix my mistakes. All I could do was lie there and think. Hopefully she would hear my thoughts. Somehow.
Mom, I broke my promise and had a few drinks tonight. I thought I was invincible, but my luck has run out. I didn’t follow your advice. It seems that my time has come and I’ll be ending my life in the street. My heart is failing, so before leaving, I would like to let you know that I am sorry. Be strong and try not to cry. Mommy, I love you. My only regret is not to have been able to say goodbye.
© Daevone Molyneux, 2013