“You know where to find us later if you decide to go to the party!” the guys tell me before I shut my door and drive away.
I’m usually always upfor a party but I’ve been feeling off today. There’s this ominous feeling around me, and I don’t know what to do with it. I just try to shrug it off, thinking that maybe it’s because I’m too tired from all the practicing Coach has put us through this summer to get ready for this season’s games.
Plus, I’m also tired from the constant fighting that has been going on with my parents for the past few weeks. It’s draining to hear your parents constantly argue. Technically, we should have it all with the amount of money my father has, but it just goes to show that money isn’t everything. Just because you have it, it doesn’t make you happy automatically. At least Dad is away on a business trip, so I don’t have to worry about them being combative tonight.
When I pull up onto our driveway, I come to a stop and turn off my headlights. I sit there for a few minutes by myself. I look at the time and see that it’s already ten p.m. which means that Mom is probably passed out already.
I’m still going to check on her though because every night for the past few months, no matter what time I get home, I always make the effort to look after her. Sometimes we talk for a while or just watch movies whenever she’s awake. Those nights have become some of my best memories. I’m sad and it pains me to watch the depression take over her.
I step out of my car, leaving it in the circular driveway as I head inside. One of the security guards will park it later if they see I’m not going out again.
I push open the door straight into the foyer and then walk to the small corridor on the right that leads to the kitchen to get some food. I’m starving. These games always make me super hungry after.
I open the oven and see my food. Our chef always leaves food there for me every night when I’m not here at dinnertime. I take it out and put it in the microwave to heat it up. That’ll be faster since I just want to eat, check on Mom and then crash.
When the microwave beeps, I grab my food and sit at the kitchen island and eat by myself. I miss it when we had family dinners together, when my father wasn’t traveling so much. But I guess I get it. He has business all across the country and he is the CEO, after all.
I want to play football professionally, but I know that one day I’ll have to take over his real estate business. That’s how my father and his family before him gained their wealth, through real estate and oil—mega business with mega expectations.
Once I’m finished eating, I put my plate in the sink and then head upstairs to my parents’ room. I knock on the door, but there’s no answer. She must be asleep, but I’ll go in and check on her. When I step into her room, it’s dark except for the little light coming from the television. It’s also a bit chilly in here because she left her window open and the night air is coming in.
I turn on the soft overhead light that’s by the door to make sure she’s okay. Once it’s on, I look over at her. She’s curled up in a ball and the covers are off her. I begin walking over to her with the intention of covering her with her blankets, but I barely make it a step before my boot steps on something lying on the floor, causing me to almost trip and fall.
I wasn’t looking down at the floor. My eyes were just focused on her, so I wasn’t paying attention. I look down to see what I stepped on and see two pill bottles lying there.
I crouch down and pick them up. They’re empty. I look at the label on both bottles. One readsAmbienand the other readsXanax. My heart instantly starts beating out of my chest and I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. One of these is her sleeping medication, and the other is for her anxiety.
The color drains from my face as I snap my head up to look over at her. I shake my head, not wanting to believe what I might find when I get closer to her. I look at her, really look at her. I can’t seem to move my limbs in that moment. I realize that her chest isn’t moving and mine instantly feels like it’s about to cave in.
She looks like she’s asleep but… I swallow hard because I know tragedy is about to ensue in the moment. My heart is in overdrive and it already hurts. I just got these refills for her yesterday and now both bottles are empty.
My entire body breaks out in chills and not having the strength to get up and stand, I crawl over to her bed, my chin wobbling as I choke up.
When I finally reach her bedside, I lift myself to my knees and lean over her. I lift my shaky hands to her neck to feel for a pulse, but there’s nothing there. I grab her hand to feel for the one on her wrist, but all I feel is her cold hand in mine.
No, no, no, no! She wouldn’t! Yet I’m staring at the evidence that she did, right before me.
“Mom!” I scream in a voice that’s hoarse and pain filled to my own ears. I shake her, all the while begging her to open her eyes, but of course she doesn’t. My heart and my life shatter at my mother’s bedside. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to survive this pain that consumes me.
“Mom! Mom! Come on! How could you fucking do this to me?” I scream. I keep screaming into the silent room over and over again as I feel myself breaking further.
I let go of her hand as my body crumples in on itself and I have to hit my chest a few times to get rid of the pain I feel. When that doesn’t work, I use my fist to hit the floor repeatedly while continuing to scream. My throat constricts as I fight for air, the tears and pain threatening to come out of me, choking me.
For the first time in months, she looks peaceful while I’m lying at her feet, breaking as I come to the realization of my new reality—a life without my mother. This isn’t the way I wanted her to find peace.
I quickly call our doctor, who lives five minutes away. He answers on the second ring, and I quickly explain that there’s a medical emergency. He tells me that he’ll be here soon. I keep trying to wake her up, not wanting to give up, not wanting to face this new reality either. She can’t be dead. She just can’t be!
“Mom! Wake up!” I keep screaming and am violently shaking her now. I don’t even realize I’m sobbing until the doorbell rings and I wipe the tears off my face to see. I rush down the stairs, wiping my eyes again as I go.
“Are you alright, Knox?” Dr. Stevens asks as soon as I open the door.
“Please, come quick! It’s Mom.” I say as I run up the stairs while he follows. “I think she took all her pills,” I say. A part of me is dying as I say the words because I already know, but I don’t want to accept it.
My heart is cracking into a million pieces right now and I have no idea what to do or how to stop the hurt. I can’t fathom living in a world without her in it.