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I was just about to fall asleep, engulfed in a warm blanket of darkness, when the morbidly obese girl sitting in the desk beside me shook my shoulder with her large, beefy hands. “Charlie,” she whispered, though not very softly. “Charlie wake up.” I had been in the girls grade for over a decade, yet I still didn’t know her name. She was simply a face, that come graduation, I would never have to see again.
Sighing, I grumbled a thank you to the girl, who simply shrugged in reply.
“Mr. Parkins, I think it best for you to listen to your neighbor,” our history teacher spoke up, just as I began dozing off again. Glaring at him I couldn’t wait till he retired next next year.
Fortunately, the bell rang not moments later, indicating the end of the school day. Being the first one out of the room, I was able to escape without Mr. Concord pulling me aside and giving me one of his infamous lectures about paying attention in class.
Leaving the confines of the classroom, I was crammed into an overcrowded hallway, being it my only escape. Trudging through the halls, I kept my head down just enough to avoid eye contact with anyone. I luckily managed to break through the school’s heavy, front doors without one confrontation.
I was just about to board my usual school bus when in front of me, my ex-friend, Michael walked past. Michael and I had been inseparable all throughout sixth and seventh grade when he had first moved here from Maine. All the other kids had made fun of him, calling him four eyes and pimple face, seeing that he got acne long before anyone else did. As the only other boy in our grade who was bullied just as much as he was, I took it upon myself to take him under my wing. Our relationship of course ended when in eighth grade he got contacts, grew six inches and gained twenty pounds in pour muscle. After that, he belonged to them; a group of kids who never quite made the cut for popularity but still clinging to their few connections with the overlords.
I was just about to yell out hello, having not talked to him in more than three years, when my old, angry bus driver shouted at me to hurry up, threatening to leave without me.
“Get on or get out of the way,” demanded a boy behind me, who I noticed when I turned around had the face of an oger.
I quickly scurried up the steps and fell into one of the only empty rows. As the bus pulled away from the school, the clouds opened up and a heavy stream of rain fell rhythmically on the bus. Staring out the window, I watched as the school disappeared around the corner. I longed for the day when I was finally freed from that institution.
“Charlie,” my younger sister said, waddling into my room.
Setting my science textbook down on my desk, I twirled around in my chair. “What’s up, Meave?” I grumbled.
“Mommy is crying again,” she whimpered, clutching her teddy bear to her chest.
Scooping up her little body in my arms, I swung Meave around by her armpits until finally resting her on my hip. Patting down some stray hairs, I said soothingly, “just because mommy’s crying doesn’t mean you have to.”
“Oh,” she said, quickly wiping her remain tears from her cheeks with the back of her sleeve, but somewhere in the process wiping a brown substance across her face.
“Were you eating chocolate?” I chuckled, picking up a tissue and scrubbing it against her soft, rosy cheeks.
“Chucky gave it to me,” she smiled as I wiped up the last of it.
“The dog, Chucky?” I smirked.
Meave nodded and smiled, showing off a missing tooth right at the front of her mouth.
“Hm, sure,” I said, carrying Meave into the hall and to her room. Lying her down in her bed I told Meave, “I’ll be right back to tuck you in-”
“And read a story?” She questioned, interrupting me.
“Yeah, and read a story,” I gave in. Just as I was about to shut the door, I back tracked, “But a short one, not a whole novel.” Although Meave didn’t know yet what the word “novell” meant, she smiled and nodded her tiny, little head.
Standing outside of my parents master bedroom I pressed my ear against the door and listened. Not hearing anything, I took a in a deep breath and knocked softly. Risking a lashing from my mom, I poked my head in to find my mom unconcious, sprawled out across her king size bed. An almost empty bottle of vodka resting on her bed side table.
Relieved that I wasn’t going to have to try and console her, I went into the hallway and rummaged through our linen cabinet for a blanket to keep my mom warm. Just as I was lying it over her I noticed an empty pill bottle hidden behind the vodka bottle. Curious, I picked it up and checked the date of when it was given.
“1/30/15,” it read. That was just two days ago. No doctor would ever prescribe a pill bottle with the amount of pills that would run out in just two days. Suddenly the answer came to me and I flung myself over her unconscious body and snatched their home phone.
Dialing “911”, I was connected to a deep throated man. “This is 911, what is your emergency?” He groaned, obviously bored with his job.
“I need an ambulance at 51 Broton Avenue, Andover Connecticut. My mom has overdosed on pills.”
Suddenly much more alert, the man spoke frantically, “an ambulance is on their way. What I need you to do son is try your best to wake her up.”
“How the hell am I suppose to do that!” I shouted, not carrying that I was treating this poor guy so horribly.
“Bring her into the shower, turn on the faucet and sit down with her and stick your fingers down her throat to get her to throw up.” He said now more slowly, getting control over his emotions.
Hanging up on him, I dragged my moms limp body into her bathroom, sat down behind her in tub and turned the shower on so that the icy water crashed down on our bodies. Like the man said, I stuck my middle and index fingers down her throat. Just as I began to feel her body react, Meave walked in. “What’s wrong with mommy?” She asked, her face red and puffy.
“Get out!” I shouted. “Get the hell out of here.” Turning, she quickly ran out of the room and I heard her slam her door shut.
Still straddling her from behind, my mom was in minute five of projectile vomiting when the paramedics quickly rushed in. Taking her from me, the two of them crowded around her, shooing me away.
Dragging my sloshing body into my room, I silently stripped and got into a dry pair of flannel pants and large hoodie. Walking past my parents room, where they were still trying to revive my mom, I went back into my little sisters room.
Sitting at the foot of her bed, I stared straight ahead at her pink walls, trying my best to ignore Meaves cries and the anxious voices coming from my mothers room. Getting up, I quietly lied down beside Meave, tucking us both beneath her covers. Cuddling up beside me, her uneven breath against my neck, Meave soon fell asleep. Unable to do the same, I stared up at the ceiling, my mind completely blank.
My eyes were just starting to close and my mind was at a blissful point just before sleep, when I was awaken by a knock at the door.
“Son, it’s the paramedics,” one of them said. I closed my eyes, pretending to be asleep. Opening the door, the paramedic reported to his partner, “Ben, he’s asleep.”
“Let the kid get his rest, lord knows tonights been traumatic.”
“Yeah, I guess,” the paramedic said, still unsure if they should really us.
“We can call for a social worker to come in the morning but right now we really need to be getting this women to the hospital.”
Agreeing on the plan, the two of them carried my mom out of the house and into the back of the ambulance. I listened to the sounds of the sirens until they were nothing but a memory.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
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