I lay in bed tossing and turning, waiting in anticipation for the alarm on my phone to go off to wake me up to start this torturous day. I knew I couldn't get back to sleep, so I gave up and finally rolled out of bed. I did everything possible to get ready extremely slow and I even went downstairs and attempted to eat breakfast, which I never do. Yet my appetite was nonexistent, except for the little blue pill I popped every morning. Time kept passing as it always does, but I just needed it to pause for a minute. Just one minute paused in time for me to collect my thoughts, but the clock kept ticking. I was finally about ready to get in the car before my phone started ringing. It was my father. I knew he was calling to see if I had left yet to come get him, in a snobby attitude I said, “I’m on my way, I’ll be there soon.” I got off the phone quickly to get in the car to start this journey.
My mind was in a jumble, no thoughts seemed to be straight. I was running late since I delayed my start as much as possible, and as I was speeding up the thruway towards Albany, I see red lights flashing and sirens going off behind me. All I could think is you have got to be kidding me; this would only happen to me on this day, the cop came to the window, yet I was already crying. I couldn’t control myself at this point, I was completely on edge. I was at my breaking point and I knew it. I thought about telling him what I was actually doing, why I was speeding, but then I remembered life isn’t a movie and I was no angel. He seemed rude and like he didn't really care at all, 82 in a 65, is exactly that. Speeding. Frustrated. Speeding Ticket. Agitated. I attempted to pull myself together the best I could and I continued to drive.
I finally reached the city, but before I could go to room 243 to pick up my father, I had to stop at his old house, that house. I dreaded walking up those stairs to knock on the door, to only have my evil stepmother open the door. I know I know its so cliché an evil stepmother who is always the bad guy in the story. But she was, I know she had her own issues, just as we all do, but I can tell you she was not my favorite person to put it in the nicest way possible.
She stood. I looked her up and down, her short pudgy self stood there, with an empty mouth. Not only an empty mouth with no words, but also empty with no teeth. Trust me it was no site I ever wanted to see, but as always, I had to suck it up and do what I needed to do. She was short with conversation, she didn't really like me either, it was a mutual hatred, and we were both okay with that. It’s easier if you both hate each other, if one person actually likes the other then its only heartbreak. She already had a bag packed; with a list of the belongings my father had told her he needed, there wasn’t much though.
The list consisted of the following:
Beige Winter Coat
Hoodie – Maginn
New Palts Hat
Irish Spring soap (2)
As I was about to leave, she expressed how she was coming to the hotel as well. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” I demanded. She responded “I just want the phone that is in my name. I just want the phone and the charger.” Annoyed, “fine, but you can park in the front and I will go get the phone.” I drove down to the hotel, and parked by room 243. I went in and grabbed the phone and charger and walked to the front of the hotel where she was waiting. I refused to let them see each other, I did not need world war 3 to break out, I walked back up to her car and handed her the requested belongings, she in return handed me 20 $ .
“For gas” she said. I looked at the folded 20 that was in my hand, gave her a blank stare while I placed the money in my back pocket.
A twenty dollar bill for taking YOUR husband that you kicked out of the house to rehab, YOUR husband but you aren’t doing shit to help him, instead throwing me $20, I just want to shove this twenty right back in her fucking face. I wanted to shove my head in the window and just spit. I’d love to rip it up and say thanks for absolutely nothing as usual, but I was broke, and twenty dollars is twenty dollars.
She drove away and I walked around to the back of the motel to room 243. I hear him on the phone saying “did you see her new car? I can't believe it.” He was on the phone with my sister, absolutely amazed that this was my car, like it was the first time he had ever seen it. He didn't remember riding in it back from the hospital a week before.
The last car he had seen me in was the one he gave me to try to buy my attendance at the holidays so that he wouldn’t have to admit to anyone that he kicked me out. I wrecked that car one night. I should have died. I flashbacked to that night; I was driving down the road drunk, attempting to text at the same time. I drove off the road into a ditch smashing into the brick wall that the owners had built to protect the driveway. I don’t even remember the crash; just the fumes from the airbag polluting the air left in the sealed windows, suffocating my lungs jolting me back to consciousness. I was confused and sore, I felt like I had just been run over by a monster truck, and then backed over, twice. The alarm was going off and the doors wouldn’t open, I had to crawl over to the passenger side and crawl out the window. I stood in the middle of the road, drunk, realizing I was my parents’ daughter.
“Jessie….Jessie, your sister’s on the phone” as he interrupted my thoughts, he handed me the phone and kept circling around my car in amazement. I can hear her voice, but I don’t want to. All of her words are going in one ear and out the other. I don’t want to speak to her. I just want to get this day over with. She tried asking me questions but I snapped. “I can’t just talk right now Madison, I need to get on the road; I’ll call you later.” Rudely, it all just came out of my mouth, before I hung up the phone. I knew that she was just concerned, but I was fed up, and no one else was dealing with this; I was.
Frustrated “Just get in the car, let’s go” trying to break the amazement off of his face for a car that he had already rode in. I felt like I was dealing with a child, like I was babysitting, but in reality, I was.
We got in the car and started the journey. We had to stop at the bank, where I made him close his account and take out all the money, my stepmother had already taken the majority of the money out from it, or at least that’s what he said when there was only five hundred dollars left. That was it. He had five hundred dollars to his name. And at that point in time, I know I was broke, but he really had nothing. I had to get some more coffee in me if I was going to make the whole day. He looked at me as if I was an alien; I knew in his mind he was questioning who I was; who was this girl all grown up, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. The whole way there, I let him talk about whatever he wanted, He expressed he was scared, that he didn't want to go.
Since my father loved the outdoors so much, and he has never been to New Paltz since I started school, on the way from Albany back down to Garrison, I only felt it was right to stop in New Paltz, and show him a special place that my ex and me use to come up to just to sit and watch the stars. It was a special place to me, and during the fall days it was gorgeous so I knew that he would love it. We finally got there; he got out and was speechless. As we looked out the cliff, all you could see were the colorful trees followed by more trees.
With his eyes tearing up, he turns and looks at me, “Can I just stay here? Let’s not go, we can go runaway wherever you want.” He tried to convince me. I thought about it. I thought about dropping everything and just going cross country getting to spend quality time with my dad. I imagined him saying it, hoping he was just yearning for some quality time with me but wondering if he was just simply using me. Maybe we would finally have a relationship, maybe this was an adventure I needed to embark on. Although the idea seemed tempting, I came back down to reality and knew that it was a horrible plan.
“No we can't, but we can come back to this place when you get out and you get better,” I responded. He seemed disappointed that I didn’t jump at the opportunity to go on a runaway mission with him. He looked at me with such confusion as to who I had become, why wouldn’t I have already planned a mission to save him from this. In his eyes, I should have already had everything planned for us to run away from rehab, for us to travel the country, for me to let him do whatever it is he wanted to do. He looked at me disappointed, and I debated if I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing. At that moment he realized, I was just a random girl forcing him to break up with his friends.
The car stood between us and as I turned to hint we needed to get back on the road, his eyes were so gloomy, so fearful. I had never seen such cheerless, petrified eyes before. The journey still continued and we got back on track. After another hour in the car, hearing him talk about who knows what, we finally began to reach our destination. The closer and closer we got, the more terrified he became.
We drove past a church up a hill set back from the world. We sat in the parking lot and went through his checklist one more time; he needed ones for vending machines. He looked at me like a child who needed money to go to the candy store, and as the parent figure, I didn’t want him to go without. I had just recently worked a night shift at my bar, and I had a whole stack of ones in the consol in the middle of my car.
I handed the stack to him, there had to be at least 150$... which for a college student is a lot. As we were walking up to the sliding doors, he had tears in his eyes, “Please, I don't want to go here.” I just looked at him, but kept my mouth shut. I didn’t even know what I should or could say. We continued to walk; I tried telling him I was so proud of him, which I was. He needed this. We walked down the hallway and stopped and looked at the pictures that were up on a board, the people all looked happy. This will be good for him, I thought.
We slowly walked into the main office, with a large clock facing us striking 2:30pm, where we were greeted by a man who seemed probably only a couple years older than me. He took my father’s black duffle bag and directed us to go into a small office in the corner. A short haired woman stood there to welcome us.
She immediately asked my father if he had had anything to drink, and with his automatic answer of no, she wasn’t convinced. She continued to ask him, yet he continued to say no. She kept looking at me and we had that eye view connection like two parents have when they are reading each others mind about the child sitting in front of them. We had that concerned look in both of our eyes. Again, she asked if he had anything to drink today, and he said no. I was getting a little annoyed that she kept insisting like he was lying. I didn’t like that she was prying; it seemed like an unfair advantage, was she just one of those power control freaks? What was she doing, check him in, get him off drinking, why was she stuck on this, I tried to defend him “I've been with him since 9 this morning, and he hasn't drank.”
She looked at me confused, “Well can't you smell it, he reeks of beer”
Upset. Disappointed in myself. How could I not smell it?
“Well I work at a bar, so the smell of beer is always around it doesn't phase me.” I tried to defend my lack of realizing the obvious. I had a horrible sense of smell as it was, and it was true, I basically lived at the bar, so smelling beer was normal as breathing in air.
She stated the following, “The rule is you are not allowed to go into rehab if you are intoxicated.” My mind started freaking out all over.
Tell me I have to do this all over again. What am I suppose to do with him? Why is this happening to me? Why can’t this be easier?
“Don't lie to me, Seamus. Did you drink this morning” with a more superior tone in her voice, like she was getting down to business -no more kid games.
Sounding guilty, “Well I had a drink when I got up, I was nervous,” he finally admits.
You could tell by the look in his eyes and tone in his voice he was terrified, embarrassed, lost.
Breathalyzer. I sat there and watched as she forced my father to put it in his mouth and blow, it was if she was playing choo choo train to spoon feed a child.
.27 He blew a .27 I had been with him for the past 5 hours. How on earth did I not realize this? I stood there with such disappointment as he sat back down. The tears started to roll down my cheeks without any warning, while my eyes rolled to the back of my mind trying to figure out how on earth he could do this.
They aren't going to let him come here, I'm going to have to take him all the way back to room 243 and redo this again. I can't do it, I can't take this again. I really know that this is the limit of what I can handle. I’ve handled a lot, but I cannot do this again. I began completely loosing it.
The lady noticed my stress increase along with my agitated attitude, and asked me to go wait in the other room. I debated ignoring her suggestion and keeping my protection over the child sitting there, “no I am staying with him” but then I realized he wasn’t a child, I was the child. I shook my head and left.
I walked into the other room trying to wipe away the tears from my face so the man that first greeted us did not see my pain. He tried to put my mind at ease by telling me good things about the place, but I was more concerned with if he'll even be able to stay.
I responded, “he just blew a .27 “
“You didn't notice he was drunk?” the boy confusedly asked.
“Well I guess I don't think I've ever seen him sober, so I didn't even know.”
Ashamed. He just looked at me, and we both sat there silently.
There was another man in the room waiting. He was probably about 26, and he was pretty cute. He seemed so calm and collected. I figured he was someone that worked there, until he started to talk about how he brought this book with him and that book with him and went through his duffle bag that was sitting next to my fathers. How could someone being checked into rehab be so calm and collected like this is not a big deal? It is a huge fucking deal.
My father and the lady walked out of the room, she expressed how He can stay and that he can go walk me out to say goodbye. The tears streamed down his face as we walked down the hall. I tried to not cry, I needed to stay strong for him. He was terrified, petrified. As a daughter looking at your father literally scared to death, it seriously looked as if he was looking death right in the face. He stopped before the doors and gave me a hug and whispered in my ear ‘please don't leave me here, please just don't leave me in this place.’
My heart crumbled. I didn’t know if I was doing a good thing or a bad thing, all I did know was I hated it all. I hated him for making me have to go through this, I hated him for having to go through this, for being so weak, I hated my brother for not only not having to deal with this, but also because it seemed to not bother him at all. I envied that, I wish I could just not care, I wish I could just turn my back on family. I hated my step mom for not taking care of all this herself. I hated myself for caring so much. I hated myself for acting like I was so strong, acting like I could handle it all, because I couldn’t. I looked him in the face and just hated that I didn’t have a normal relationship, I just wished he could be the man I would love him to be. I needed him; I needed him to be in my life. I wanted him to be in my life. As much as I hated it all, it felt so satisfying that he needed me, that I was the person who was solving his problems. I thought about grabbing his hand and running him straight out of that place and start our journey, but before I could react, he turned around with rivers making paths down his face and walked away.
I walked out the door, tears filling up my eyes. All I wanted to do was start running, anywhere just run and find a place to hide, I just wanted to scream and run. As I walked to my car, I tried to avoid looking at the two men sitting on the bench outside. They didn't need to see this pain. They didn't deserve it. They didn't need to be part of it. I reached my car, opened the door and sunk into my seat. I could barely keep my breath, I was hysterical. I didn't know what to do. I had no one to call. At this point I knew not to bother with my ex boyfriend. I didn’t have friends, I didn’t want to talk to my brother or sister, they didn’t have to deal with this, they weren’t here. Everything from the whole situation finally hit me, it finally all set in, now that everything was finished, my mind went off autopilot and it was left to deal with the situation. I was trying to be strong, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t strong at all. I was weak. I was lost. I felt so completely drained. It was if the life was sucked right out of me and my body was left like dead limbs.
My phone started ringing. It was my ex's mom, Kat. She had become like a mother to me, and I loved her with my whole heart, and so thankful for everything she had done for me, all the things that she never had to do, but always did. She knew exactly what was going on in my head; she called me to check in. She called right on time. My speech was all over the place, I just felt horrible. I didn't feel like I did a good thing at all. I felt like total shit. She talked with me, and thank god she did, because without it I doubt I would have calmed myself down to drive back home and try to get my own life back.