Following The Bumpy Road
She was walking down the road. Gravel biting at her face as the winds picked up. 15-year-old Dawn
She was walking down the road. Gravel biting at her face as the winds picked up. 15-year-old Dawn had a messy life at home. Her mom was rarely home. She spent most of her time with the opening and closing hours at the local bar. Her dad always looked at her in a way that gave Dawn the creeps. An older brother who had run a way a few years back she never heard from.
For the most part Dawn had raised herself for the last several years. She got up for school with her alarm. She fixed a bowl of cereal and packed her own lunches. Dawn liked school. Not for the fact that she was shaping her life for adulthood; but because she heard noise. Kids running to and from classes. Teachers mumbling out of books.
She had a couple of friends but nothing really she could call close. It was fall and decorations were seen everywhere. Hanging ghosts from trees. Pumpkins sitting on porches. Orange lights hanging from windows giving off a spooky glow.
She was almost to school one day when a girl about her age hopped off her front porch and slid up beside Dawn, feet in rhythm, she walked beside her.
” What’s your name? Mine is Molly. We just moved here. This is my first day of school. You know I just hate school. My parents ride my ass all the time about how I need an education.”
Molly pulled out a pack of cigarettes from her back pocket. Lighting one up and making an O ring she offered one to Dawn who turned her down.
” So what did you say your name was?”
” I didn’t but it is Dawn.”
” Dawn huh, nice name I guess. Dawn and Molly, sounds good together.”
The two girls walked until they came within a block of school. She didn’t know what planet this chick was from but hey, someone was talking to her. Dawn stopped behind the school trash dumpsters. Molly stopped too and Dawn whispered, ” I think I will take one of the cigarettes if you still want to offer one.”
” Sure girlfriend, what are best friends for?”
Molly lit it for her and Dawn swallowed hard in order not to show this new friend she had never tried smoking before. Molly slapped her on the back and laughed. ” Don’t worry kid, it gets easier with each one.”
The two stood there while Dawn forced each puff. squashing it out with her feet the two went inside the school doors.
After school was over Molly was waiting right in the same spot the two had split. Going behind the trash cans Molly offered another cigarette which Dawn took. The two girls inhaled and chatted about the day. The girls walked home. Molly did most of the talking and Dawn listened.
It was obvious Molly had lived a more exciting life than Dawn had. They parted ways and once home Dawn went to the fridge and got herself a pop and some crackers. She went to her room and closed the door. Laying on her bed she ate and thought about everything Molly had said.
She wished she lived this kind of life. Molly smoked and had even tried pot. She even had sex already. Dawn had not even had a serious boyfriend yet. She fell asleep dreaming of how her life could change now that she knew Molly.
Day after day the two girls met. They went to school and went home. They started spending weekends together, and Molly even taught Dawn how to skip school. After all, there was so much more to life than just school, Molly would say.
Molly made friends easily. She introduced them to Dawn and soon she was popular. This crowd she was running with wasn’t the kind your mother dreamed of you being around. More drugs were introduced. Drinking on the weekends became a regular thing.
It wasn’t long at all before skipping school became a once a week thing. Then it was two, then three, graduating up to a week one time. The school was calling but no one was answering.
One time when Dawn was smoking a joint in her room the doorbell rang. She peeked out her window. It was a cop. Dawn’s heart began to race. What should she do? She quickly called her friend and was instructed to get a small bag together quick. Quietly slide out the back door and high tail it over to her house.
It took less than five minutes and the house was empty. When Dawn walked upon the porch Molly was standing there waiting for her with her own back pack. The two said nothing. They started walking not looking back.
Dawn’s mind was asking so many questions. There was a little fear making her stomach hurt. But she wasn’t going to get the shit kicked out of her for not going to school. She had no choice but to follow or go back.
The two had made it to the edge of town when a car pulled up next to them. Gravel biting them in the face as the winds picked up. Three guys were inside. Smiling they told the girls to hop in. Molly did just this and Dawn followed.
This is a place to write your inner most feelings, right? A place to come to when you can not say the words to your children, in fear of breaking down, and having your kids see you in a weak moment. To come here means I do not have to be criticized by others for not doing this or doing that. I do not have to be felt to feel small or stupid. Lord, I love this blogging site!
I have a huge headache today. Oh, it is stress, I have no doubt. I work up in a fairly good mood, considering my brother was being the obedient child, waking up earlier than usual because he can’t sleep well on Wednesday nights, because I am going to be entering his bedroom on Thursday mornings to change his sheets.
This is the only time I enter his walls of privacy, his comfort zone, his free to be whom ever he wishes, is to change sheets. Other than that, I only enter when laying clean, folded clothes on his bed, and then I make a quick escape in order not to cause tears or faster tremors. Yes, tremors from Parkinson’s tends to be worse when the patient is nervous or stressed out or even tired.
I am sitting here cracking up with laughter inside, as it is this choice or screaming and tears. He has been in a bad mood all morning. I almost wish for those good days to never come, then I will never know what the other life would be like.
He woke up and stumbled to the kitchen, refusing to hang on to walls, or chairs, because then he would have to admit, he needs more help than a cane. I can tell by his face that he is in the Parkinson mode. I know for a fact, he was up until at least three thirty in the morning, watching television, and he could have slept in, since he was tired, but it was sheet changing day! This is his choice, not mine, but it would not matter what day of the week, because I have no guarantees which days will be good or not, and if I mention the fact that we can wait until a better day to change them, he explodes, and wants to know what he had done wrong.
Sometimes I just want to curse and hit our father, for planting this terrible habit of doing all wrong. I praise Al to the ceiling, but he never believes me. He has been taught for over forty years, that he can do nothing right.
After sheets were changed and breakfast all cleaned up, I needed to pay attention to some bills I had coming due, and I wanted to check into a different company for our television needs. I had also made the mistake of telling Al that we would be running to the gas station soon so I could get my smokes. While I am on the phone and not quite ready enough to leave, he has gotten his shoes on, and told me while I was on the phone that he was going to go outside and sit on the porch to wait, I nodded yes, that I understood.
The box fan was sitting near the front door running and Al could not pick the fan up and move it, and he could not walk around it. It was stressful to him that something was in his way, and so he did the shuffle from his Parkinson’s and nearly fell through the door. I am watching this and still trying to pay attention to the words of the sales rep, and was about to get up and go move the fan, when all of a sudden, Al burst out with a big F You word. I swear the whole neighborhood plus the rep on the phone could hear. He was talking to his legs, that were frozen.
He gave up the fan and the move to outdoors, and sat on the couch and cussed. I am sure the lady on the phone heard all, or enough, because our conversation was completed quickly.
I decided at that moment to put all bills on hold, and take Al to the gas station to deter his mind from the fan, and offered to get him some lunch at a restaurant close by and bring it home. He walked out side and didn’t hang on to the rail, because once again, if he gets the extra help, then he has to admit he needs it. He walks down the four steps, and trips on the last one, and I catch him! I explain this is why we need to use both arms to hang on to anything solid, one hand on the cane, the other on whatever is there.
He starts crying and yelling again. He is telling me it is his fault he has this stupid disease. I am deciding whether to continue to the gas station or not, and then I thought, oh ya, I need my smokes more than ever. Not even going to think about quitting my habit for today.
I get him in the car and he is wailing and having the biggest pity party ever. I hate the pity party. I have explained like a broken record, that he needs to be thankful for whatever he can do today, but he never hears me. He is living in the moment, right now, what is happening with his legs now, his tremors, the day, the minute. There is no tomorrow, ever.
We get to the gas station and I run in and get my smokes while Al is sitting in the car gritting his teeth at me, because I refuse to play the pity partner game with him. I decide the hell with the restaurant, and I grab something from the deli here and I get back in the car. We left and I drove home. When we get home, he refuses to get out of the car. I can not leave him sit there, so I have to stand in the rain, and coax him like a baby to get him out of the car. Finally, he gets out, and I unlock the house, lock the car, and here I sit, writing my frustrations out to someone who will listen, not judge or condemn me and smoking.
This was me one day after I graduated high school. A cigarette and smoke being seen only by the elite club of smoker friends. The kids who wanted a better life, more popularity with the mature boys I knew.
My girlfriend had suggested to me that now that we were women, and could make our own decisions, we should take up this dignified habit, to show the world we were top class. There was no one to stop me from lighting up my first cigarette, sitting in my car, with her and our windows down, parked in the bowling alley parking lot, and knowing our parents would never see us here, as this was a place where they never adventured to enter.
I can look back and see us both holding our cancer sticks like pros, twirling it between our fingers, trying to hold the pose of the ladies on the television commercials. We coughed, and our faces probably turned colors between an unripe tomato and an over ripe one.
It didn’t matter if we choked our way through our first one or not, we were women, adults of the world, and able to make choices.
My first time I ever smoked, was the day after graduation from high school. I only had one or two the entire day. Although I was of legal age to smoke, in my mother’s eyes, there was no legal age. When I came home for supper that evening, the first thing my mom did, was dump my purse out on the counter, and out fell the red hard pack of Marlboro cigarettes. She immediately questioned me as to who these belonged to and I instantly told her that they were not mine, that I was holding them for a friend, because her mom would have a fit if she found out her daughter smoked.
Mom didn’t believe me at all, and why should she? The smell of cigarette smoke is rank. It comes out of your mouth as a wispy cloud, and aggressively attaches itself to anything within a few inches. Mom said I smelled like smoke, and once again, I tried fooling her stating I had been with my friend and she had been smoking. Mom says to me in no uncertain terms, smoking will kill you, give it up!
At that time there were no commercials nor media prompting that smoking was habit-forming. Any posters or ads you saw were sophistication, and this is what my mind had fooled me into believing.
Today, all these years later, I still see my mom and me standing in the kitchen, at the table, and her unloading my purse. Every once in a while, I think of mom and wish with all my heart that I would have listened to her. It has been several years since mom has died, and I still carry the guilt of knowing I am doing something she didn’t approve of.
What people don’t realize, is it really is a drug. It is hard to break this terrible habit. I pray about it almost nightly, and I tell myself how bad I stink from its oder, but I still smoke.
I go to sleep each night telling myself, that was my last smoke I was inhaling, and wake up each morning to light up once again. I have different excuses for myself that I use, such as I have to die from something, or I can’t give them up taking care of my brother, or I will quit when they cost a dollar.
My father smoked up until he had his heart attack, and because of the recovery time, and the fear of a too close of death experience, he never went back to smoking when he was released. He exchanged his smoking habit to a habit of chewing gum.
Is this what will happen to me also? Will I have a heart attack to quit? I don’t know, but when I face the down and dirty bare facts, and when I am all alone, I have to admit the truth, and that is, I am not ready to quit. I will have to be forced by some unknown power, that can beat me up and knock the nicotine out of my body.
I want to quit for so many reasons, but I don’t want to quit bad enough, or I would have done it now. I tell myself I would quit faster if there was someone who I had to liable to, but there is no one, and this is one time, that you telling me what about God, will not work, or at least so far it has not. I am strong, but the addiction is stronger, and God is even stronger than the addiction. I don’t know if I will quit on my own, or if God will have to once again show me by hard lessons. Time will tell.
Thanks and credits go to Ermilia for letting me write for her writing exercise.