Originally written 12-13-06. Dialogue between parent and child.
Desiree walked into the house trying to keep her footsteps quiet so she could run upstairs and shower of the smell of dampness and smoke. Her mother was standing at the kitchen threshold right before the stairs with her dark curls pinned up carelessly. Her face looked sad.
“Where were you?” she asked her daughter in a meek voice.
Desiree smiled crookedly and tried to straighten out her look before her mother took it all in: her tangled hair, the grass stains on her knees, the small burn marks on her blouse.
“Just out at the lake with my friends for the night,” she said.
Her mother’s eyes narrowed but her hand reach out to gentle touch her daughter’s pale, freckled face.
“Oh mom,” sighed Desiree, ” I was at the lake, we were out late and it was warm out so we decided to spend the night. you wouldn’t want Jason driving home when he could barely keep his eyes open, would you?”
Her mother smiled half-heartedly. Desiree took her mom’s hand and squeezed it tightly then hugged her.
“Love you mom,” she said and ran up a few steps.
“Dee!” her mother called after her. Desiree stopped and turned to look back. “Why do you hang out with those boys?”
Desiree’s shoulders slumped and she answered dully, “Because they’re my friends.”
“They’re trouble,” her mother said.
“How would you know?”
“I was a teenager too, I once had friends like that.”
“They are real friends mom, they care. We have fun, what else matters? We do what we like.”
“And what’s that?” he mother asked sharply although her voice was still quiet.
“Music, car rides, food, normal things,” Desiree’s voice was getting edgy.
“You smell like pot, Dee.”
Desiree felt her heart rate speed up by she held her ground.
“I know what normal things you kids do these days and I don’t like it, it’s not food for you.”
“But I’m happy! I have good friends. We’re all good to each other. We have fun, we’re not getting hurt. Jason says it’s merely government propaganda saying we need to go to work and war but what we really need is love.”
“You can get hurt,” her mother said, almost in a whisper. Desiree walked down a few steps so she could hear her mother’s voice.
“How?” she asked defiantly. “How?”
Her mother’s dark brown eyes held her steadily, intensely, “I once lived for happiness too, for peace and love, my dear. I once thought all life needed was drugs, a warm blanket, and a body to share it with.”
She looked away with cheeks burning red. Desiree stayed quiet.
“But life caught up with me,” she continued. “Drugs, sex, alcohol, sure that seems fun and rebellious but it hurts people. It hurt my mother, father, lover, and son.”
“A son?” Desiree whispered but her mother was now oblivious to her.
“I loved once… loved my life, and someone before you, someone before you father…”
She sat down on the bottom step, her daughter watching on. She traced invisible lines with her fingers on the rough carpet.
‘Mom?” Desiree asked after silence had filled the room, the entire house. She scooted down the last few steps and put her arms around her mom’s shoulder’s.
‘You don’t have to tell me about it,” she said. “You don’t have to remember it now.”
“It was the hunger that killed the baby, it was the heroin that killed him,” she cried but without tears.
Desiree let her mother rest her head upon her leg, she touched the hair-sprayed curls.
“Mother, I’ll change,” she promised.
“Just don’t tell father,” her mother whispered.
Footsteps came up the walkway and the door began to open. Her mother stood up and wiped invisible tears away fro mher eyes.
Desiree looked at her father who was walking through the door.
‘Good afternoon, dear,” said her mother.
Her father walked over to the coffee table and set down his briefcase.
“When’s dinner?” he asked.
Desiree looked at her mother while his back was turned, she looked like she was about to cry.
“Dinner is at six.”
She turned and went into the kitchen as her father sat down on the couch. Desiree went quietly upstairs.
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.