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v.3 Simple Twist of Fate...
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     I sat on my bed witing out some dance moves for our group’s next practice. I decided to take a break and go downstairs for something to eat, when I heard my mom and dad screaming and yelling at each other again. It was the fourth time this week.
     I knew they were going to get a divorce. I had no idea why they’d want to do that to my little brother and me. Josh certainly didn’t deserve this, and neither did I. We both knew it wasn’t our fault, but we couldn’t help but let that though run wild in our heads.
     As I crept into the kitchen, my mom’s words floated in loud and clear from the other room.
     “How could you do this to me? To your family? You’re ruining our lives!”
     I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in. Dad had been drinking again. Usually drunken screaming came from my dad after this. I didn’t want to stick around to hear it. I wiped a tear away from my eye, grabbed an apple and a bottle of water, and then dashed up the stairs to my room.
     Before I could open my door, I heard a muffled cry coming from the room next door. It was Josh.
     I walked slowly into his room, and sat on the end of his bed. “Josh, is it Mom and Dad again?” I asked gently.
     He nodded. Since he was thirteen, he was able to understand everything. That made it even worse. “Why do they always have to fight? Can’t they see how upset we are?” Josh managed to get out inbetween tears and sniffles.
     I leaned over and hugged my brother. “I don’t know if they do, Josh. Dad’s drunk, and Mom might as well be for how blind she is to what their fighting is doing to us.” And to them I said to myself, not wanting to make everything worse.
     “Why can’t Dad just admit he has a problem? It might work out then.”
     I didn’t want to ruin any hope Josh had left, but I couldn’t lie to him. I chose my words carefully. “I think they’re too far gone now. Dad won’t admit it, and he is mostly going to kill himself one of these days. Mom probably woulnd’t forgive him even if he did admit to having a problem.” The words stung deep inside myself as I realized what I was saying. Tears welled in the corners of my eyes, and Josh looked at the bed. I never made it back to my room that night. I had fallen asleep on the end of Josh’s bed, comforted by the presence of a loved one.

     When I awoke the next morning, I crept out of my brother’s room, as as not to wake him. I closed the door slowly, and tip-toed back to my room. The house was quiet, which was very unusual lately. Now it created an unsettling atmosphere.
     I flopped on the bed and switced on my TV. “Ooh, Saturday morning cartoons!” Even at the age of fifteen, I still loved cartoons. They helped me calm down, and just laugh, even if they were stupid.
     “Molly!” I jumped as my brother called my name from the doorway.
     “What is it, Josh?” I asked as I looked up. The look of panic and fear on his face made my blood run cold.
     “It’s Dad. I think he left.”
     “What do you mean, left?”
     “Well, gone drinking,” he swallowed, “and not coming back.”
     I jumped off my bed and ran downstairs with Josh. Remains of last night’s fight lay around. We stepped over broken glass, randon pillows, smashed picture frames, and my mom’s favorite vase. It was blue with purple and white flowers. Now it was in thousdands of pieces on the floor. Just thinking about it made me want to sob.
     “I noticed something over here,” Josh said, pointing to the counter. It was full-as usual-of empty beer bottles, but there was a note near the fridge.
     “What does it say?” I asked quitely, afraid to know.
     He read it out word for word. Although it was vague, it was enough to strike an undying fear into my mind. “I’ve gone out. Don’t expect me home for a while. Dad.”
     “Do you think he was drunk when he wrote it?” I asked, glancing down at the empty bottles.
     “Probably. When is he not?”
     I sighed. The look on Josh’s face could’ve broken my heart in two. “Let’s clean this mess up before Mom gets home from work.”
     Josh and I started gathering up the bottles, and put them in the recycling bin. We had made a lot of money on those bottles. I swept up the broken glass as Josh put the pullows back on the couchh. We wiped up a couple of beer stains from the walls and the floor, and then did a pile of dishes that was sitting in the sink.
     After we were done, I showered and went back into my room. After dressing for work at the animal shelter we met downstairs. We volunteered there a lot, since it was a way to get away from home.
     We got to the shelter around 12:30 p.m. We worked with the animals for a few hours, the whole time wondering where Dad could have gone. We left the shelter around 4:00 p.m, which was around their closing time.
     We walked home, talking about Mom and Dad.We had deicded that if they were home when we got there, we would go to our cousin’s house, who was a few mintues from our place. She was only five years older than me. The two of us felt so safe around her. We could tell her anything, and she would understand. She was always there for us when we had troubles with our parents.
     When we got home, the house was deserted. Josh and I looked at each other and shook our heads. We went upstairs to pack our backpacks with clothes and a few CD’s, and anything else we’d need for a few days.
     We set of to Marina’s after we left a note to Mom and Dad. We reached her house pretty quickly, and knocked on her door. When she answered, she looked very surprised to see us there. Her look then softened to worry, and then sympathy.
     “Was your dad drinking again?
     “Yeah. And Mom’s gone, too,” I answered softly.
     “Well, come in. You can stay here as long as you want,” she welcomed us.
     We nodded and stepped inside, following Marina into the living room. The three of us sat down on the couch and watched the TV. Do you two want anything to drink?
     “I’ll have a root-beer, please,” I said. Josh just shook his head no. Marina came back with my drink. About half an hour later, the phone rang. Marina got up to get it. She lowered her voice so we couldn’t hear the conversation. I started to get worried, cursing my overactive imagination.
     I whispered to Josh. “Could it be about Mom and dad? I hope it’s not bad if it is.” I started to babble worridly.
     “I don't know, but I’m worried. Why is Marina being so quiet?” I had no answer. I was thinking the exact same thing. Both of us tense, we waited for her to come back. It seemed like an eternity before she re-entered the room.
     “It’s your Mom and Dad. Your dad was driving home, drunk,” she started to sniffle, choking on her words, “when he hit a woman who wasn’t watching the road.” Her words trailed off into a muffled cry.
     The stark realization hit me. I looked over at Josh and I could see he knew too. The woman was my mother. Quietly, I spoke up. “They’re not okay are they?”
     Marina closed her eyes and bent her head towards the floor. We all knew this time would come some day, but we didn’t think it would be so soon. Or so horrifying.

     We were living with Marina afterwards. All three of us had deep purple circles under our eyes. We moved like zombies, not registering anything, just eating, sleeping and breathing. However, the day of the funeral soon came. Dressed in black, we drove to the funeral home. The only feeling inside of us was a terrifying numb.
     As we glanced around the funeral home, not many people were there. Mostly it was Dad’s drinking buddies, I only knew two of their names-Sean and Alex. Five or six of my mom’s co-workers were there, but I had never been introduced, so I couldn’t tell who was which. But inside, it didn’t matter. Nothing could take the pain away.
     The only faces I recognized where those of Aunt Rose and Uncle Ken, with their little daughter Chelsea, and from my dad’s side there was Aunt Charlotte, who was unwed. The service was short. Almost too short for the remembrance of two lives, yet I knew I wasn’t there for it all. It seemed I was far away and none of this was real.
     Marina took us in, becoming our legal guardian. We all promised each other not to talk about what happened, but the subject comes up every so often.

     It’s been a year since the accident but all three of us still can’t put it behind us. Josh and I started helping out with alcohol addiction recovery programs around town after going through our own recovery process. We had attended Al-teen meetings and saw a counsillor twice a week. Now, with Marina’s help, we talk to teenagers, and some adults about getting help, and how to realize you have a problem. We know from experience that people need to realize their own problem on their own before they are willing to get help.
     However, working with alcohol addiction still hurts us, for our painful memories do seep their way in often.