Staff Writer: Phoebe Kim
I walk to school with my friends hearing them chat about their excitement for Mother’s Day. They discuss on what to get their mothers, either a nice breakfast or a new outfit. I try to ignore them, and politely nod as they ask me questions on their opinion. Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, and I’m not looking forward to it.
My name is Joy Sanders. That’s it. Normally people would have something else to say, maybe something cool, but that’s not me. I’m Joy Sanders. No nicknames, no cool interesting facts about me. It’s ironic, I’m not a very joyful person. I live with my mom and my dog in our tiny apartment, and I’m our home’s breadwinner. Kind of like a main character in a book I like, but her life gets better in the end. I’m not so sure about mine.
When we reach school, my heart fills with dread. There’s a big banner in front of the quad, reminding us it’s a special school schedule because of Mother’s Day. I completely forgot, not that my mom would have come either way. Our mothers are supposed to come at the end of the day and we have a mini open house to show their our progress in our work. It’s pretty childish for a high school, but a lot of kids at our school look forward to it. Our classes are shortened thanks to it, so it’s not entirely useless.
I’m not going to say much about school, because it was just a bad reminder of something unfortunate. I walked to work, not in the best mood. I’m not usually in a good mood, anyways. My mom was sure to be home early today, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be drinking. Thanks to her, I learned self-defense martial arts over all these years. I stopped in front of the ice cream shop I work at, and found it was closed. Thanks to Mother’s Day. That made my mood even worse, because I was looking forward to using this as an excuse to come home late. I went home, and was greeted by my dog, Lime. Lime is in love with limes, hence the name. I think that’s what made him so large and strong; I like to pretend he’s my guardian instead of my mom. Too bad both of them don’t know how to keep a home running.
Before I got to the door, I could smell the smoke and alcohol in the air. This made me enraged. I burst into the room, and found my mom on the couch, seemingly enjoying herself. She saw me, and she frowned. This was something we did everyday, but today I just felt extra mad. Since it was Mother’s Day, I wanted to be a little nicer to her. However, she seems be trying to break our relationship every time I try to mend it. I clenched my fists, and yelled, “Why are you drinking right now? It’s still daylight, can’t you at least wait to do it when I sleep so I don’t have to see this side of you every day!?!”
My mom sneered, and replied, “Honey, don’t be mistaken. This is the only ‘side’ I have. And it’s the only one you’ve seen your whole life. Aren’t you used to this by now? Why are you getting mad? You’ll probably end up like me in the future anyways. Take notes.”
“You say like it’s something to be proud of. You should be taking charge! You should be trying to have something to gain respect for on Mother’s Day! How dare you make your daughter be the one to pay the bills! Who are you to do that to me!” I scream.
“You knew it was Mother’s Day? You remembered?” she asked.
“How can I forget? It was all I heard about today, with all my friends talking about the great times they’ll have with their mom. Of course, I can’t be thinking about things like that. I’m this home’s breadwinner because my mom is sucked up into her own world and won’t do anything because Dad left us.”
She didn’t answer, and I excused myself to my room.
I sat on the bed, trying to calm myself. I heard laughter and chatter outside, and I looked out my window. It was a daughter and mother, and they were wearing matching necklaces. They looked so happy, and I wondered if I can ever do that with my mother. I decided in the end I can’t.
Without realizing, I noticed tears streaming down my cheeks. I wiped it off, and went to wash my face. I looked at myself in the mirror, and see my mother behind me. She seems sober now, which is strange since it seemed like she was drinking just a moment ago. She reaches out and tries to give me a towel, but I just push her away. She silently leaves the room, showing no emotion. I go straight to sleep, ignoring my wet face and homework.
I woke up the next morning, wait, afternoon. I slept in, and I guess that meant I have to skip school. I looked at the table, and there was a meal. It was bacon and eggs, sunny-side up. I went to eat it, although it was cold. I don’t know why my mom made it, there’s no reason for her too. I heard Limes barking, and my mom was walking out. She’s probably buying more alcohol because we ran out. That’s the only reason she ever goes out to see sunlight. I checked the cabinet, but the alcohol was there, untouched. Then why did she go out?
I just waited at home all day, waiting for my mother. I’m curious why she went out, although I’m suspicious that she might not come back. I cleaned our house, did all my homework from the last month, gave Limes a bath, took a walk with Limes, watered our already dead plants, updated my computer software, ignored our bills, and learned how to do the scorpion. I got a lot done today, but my mom didn’t come back. I lay on my bed, feeling an uneasy feeling settling in my stomach. I really wonder why she left. Well, she would leave if she could live by herself, that’s for sure, but she can’t. She can’t keep a job, much less cook for one. I don’t think she ever learned to pay the bills, Dad used to do that for us. Dad ‘s not with us anymore to protect her.Enough about that. Maybe she went to a homeless shelter to humbly live her life and die peacefully. I pet Limes as I imagined millions of scenarios of my mother’s disappearance.
I jumped when I heard the door opened. I guess she didn’t leave, after all. I went down to see her. She was standing there in the nicest clothes I’ve seen her wear in a while.
“Did you go to a party? You drank again, didn’t you?” I questioned.
She shook her head. I pushed her, just to check. My mother stood firm, proving she was sober. She mumbled something I couldn’t make out.
“What? I can’t hear you. What did you do?” I asked, a little forcibly.
“I went on a job interview,” she whispered.
She went on a job interview. To get a job. My mother. She finally cracked out of her alcoholic shell and went out to do something for once.
“Did you get it?” My voice was barely audible.
“I think so.” Her voice was the same.
“What job did you apply for?”
“Cashier at the corner drug store.”
It wasn’t much, but it was something. I gave a slight nod and went up to my room. I stayed there, just sitting still on my bed.
I didn’t know I had fallen asleep, but my back really hurt thanks to it. I woke up because I smelled something fantastic coming from the kitchen. I wandered out, and saw a great meal prepared for two. I saw my mom sitting at the table, petting Limes. I pulled out a chair and sat down. Dinner was steak and mashed potatoes, with homemade gravy. I started eating, trying not to make eye contact with my mother. She cleared her throat, and said, “I’m sorry.” I glanced at her, and kept eating. “I shouldn’t have done that to you, especially when he left,” she continued.
“You don’t have to forgive me, but I just want you to know that I’m sorry.”
“Apology accepted,” I said, like it was no big deal.
“What?” she sounded surprised.
I didn’t say anything, and finished my steak and mashed potatoes. I looked at her, and put on a slight smile. “Happy Mother’s Day.”
That wasn’t the most heartfelt reconciliation, but I felt it was right for my mother and me. Maybe I can sign her up to rehab and help her out. I’m not sure how things will be in the end, but I know it’ll be the best for both of us.