Crossing a Busy Highway
What do you get when you mix a alcoholic and a gambler together? A crackhead. Thats me. I'm Piper, the neglected daughter of Mrs. and Mr. Addicts. My mom ,Chritsy, drinks all the time to drown her sorrows. She must have had a rough life growing up, why that is she will never say. I don't think my mom will ever open up to me, and I mean why would she? I made her life a living hell, I actually made her take responsibility. Although, it's not like shes actually taken it. She was irresponsible and that backfired on her, that backfire just happened to be me.
My dad got my mom pregnent at 18 and she never had any plans to have a kid. Eventually a year later they got married because they were going to have a baby, a little sacreligious if you ask me. Clearly my mother never wanted to have a child and i'm convinced they only got married because of me. (how do I add more flow?)My Dad, Joal, gambels to fill that hole in his heart since he was a kid. His mother was a drug addict, while his dad was never around, sounds sorta familiar to me. His mom died of a drug overdose back in 19??, he would never admit it, but I beleive that took a serious toll on him. Even though she was a druggie, she loved him, though not enough to sober up. Both of my parents grew up on the street and weren't very well off. So my dad gambles to get that money back he never had as a kid, and my mom...well, she drinks as much as her body will allow her to. Ever since she had me, she drinks all the time. Weekends, weekdays, alldays, 24/7. The two lovebirds never spend any time together I don't even know why their still married.
But yeah Mr.and Mrs. Cyrus live without a care in the world. Without giving any caution to the wind. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in the middle.
The odds are stacked against me, but I'm determined to beat them. 15 years ago all my parents cared about were themselves, but guess what? Fifteen years later, that hasn't changed a bit. They have no concern for anyone but themselves. That is the reason I'm destined not to suceed in life. But I will never-and I mean never-use that as a excuse for the choices that I make. I know people at school that smoke crack and drink all the time and They always use the excuse well I've just been brought into this shit so I have no choice. No. Everyonehas a choice. We all have choices to make thats what makes this world operate.It won't be easy to shrug these difficult decisions away, but people use that excuse as if it gives them a licence to do bad things. Well I have a newsflash for them: it doesn't. I have found myself tempted more than once to do things that I know could hurt me, but I don't. Thats the difference between me and them. Thats the reason I'm willing and dertermined to beat the odds. My parents gave me more than enough reasons to change, this is the hand I was dealt and I am just going to have to make the most of it. I want to be stronger than everyone, I want to come out of this with my head held high. I would rather die than become what my parents have morphed into over time. My plan is plain and simple I don't want to just to beat them but to smash them. To demolish the odds.
"Why do you drink so dang much?" I say to my drunken mother as she stares into my eyes. When I look into hers, I see nothing but pain.
"Well why do you think, stupid?" She says not really giving a care to what I just said.
I don't take what my mother says to me much to heart. She doesn't really care about me and she does nothing to hide it. So why should I be offended about the things she say when she doesn't even care anyways.
"I think you drink because you wish I was never born." I say to that cold heartless woman that didn't used to be. "I think it's because you wish that I would just disappear and turn to dust so you never had to worry about me ever again. I think it's because when you look at me, you see how much your life has fallen apart. I think it's because when you don't drink, you see me; the real me. The kid that has no constant figure in her life. The kid that turned out to be a big fat dissapointment."
"Piper." She says "I don't even know what you just said."
"Right mom. Right. Why would you?" I say in a crushed tone. "Oh wait, I know why. It's because your to freakin drunk to understand a thing I say. You don't care about me, you don't care about anyone but you. Mom, or dare I even call you that. Your not a mom, your not even a rolemodel in my life. Christy, you don't love me."
"Piper, just shutup for gods sake. And I don't deserve to be talked to like that." She says with a smirk on her face that says "Im happy your suffering."
"OUT OF ALL THE THINGS I JUST SAID TO YOU, YOU WORRY ABOUT MY TONE??" I scream at her, words pour out of my mouth as if I wrote them down, and was forced to memorize them. " MOM YOU DON'T LOVE ME." I say. I can feel tears rising to my eyes, but I won't cry. That would only make her laugh...she doesn't deserve to laugh.
"My god Piper, stop your yelling I can't think with you rambling on!" I could tell I was getting to her, even in her drunkeness she could put the pieces together of what I was saying.
"Think mom? Think? You don't think you just do. Thats why your sitting here right now. Thats why i'm standing here right now. Not thinking is the reason your so drunk and are in this position!" I feel so helpless, just standing there trying to open my moms eyes to reality. But she won't open them, she won't even try.
" Fine Piper. I love you. There I said it." She says to me, but she doesn't mean it. I had to force it out of her. She will never mean it. "Joal!" she screams "Get me out another beer!"
My dad comes running down the steps with his laptop in hand. He looks extemly over-worked. But how could he be? He works as a employee at McDonalds...he doesn't work. Neither does my mom. Shes unemployed, she HAD a job at Giant, but got fired because she never showed up. I honestly have no idea how we are not on the streets, my dad doesn't earn enough at his job to pay things off. We are thousands of dollars in debt, but since my dad gambles, he earns more money than he does at work that way so he goes and buys himself luxerys. He doesn't even care about bills. He just does whatever he wants. The tax collectors keep calling us but no one ever picks up, amd eventually they will be knocking on our doors.
"What kind do you want?" He asks her, he doesn't even acknowledge I'm there. He just does whatever my mom wants him to do.
"Uhhhh" She stutters "Coors Light!"
My dad walks right back in with a beer bottle in his hand. He hands it to my mom and then just walks right out the front door. I have no idea where he is going, and neither does my mom. She doesn't care. He could be cheating on her for all I know, and even then I'm sure she wouldn't even care. So I'm just standing there watching my mom guzzle down the 5th beer for tonight. I'm not going to stop her either. She dug her own grave and eventually shes going to have to lay in it.
It's Christmas break, and I hate Christmas time. My parents act like it's just any normal day. My mom drinks, and my dad is off somewhere private to gamble. When I see happy families walking along the street it makes me so angry. Angry that they have a great life and I don't. Why did I have to be born into this family. We aren't even a family anymore, we are like complete strangers. The only family I have is my goldfish- Swimmy - original I know. But he's been living for 5 years now and hes still going strong. I honestly would cry if he died, he's like my best friend.
After last night, I have been really debating wheather I should run away or not. I mean, I have all the reason to. My mom doesn't love me, I never get to see my dad, and neither of them care about me. I'd probably be better off on my own anyways. It's currently 1:00 in the afternoon, and my mom is still drinking.
"Mom." I say to her in a suspicious tone. "What would you do if I ran away?"
"I don't know. Piper stop I have a headache."
"Seriously mom, what would you do?" I ask again, this time more persistant.
She gets up from her recliner and stares me in the eyes. This was the first time I ever saw her look at me like this. Her eyes seemed to scream death, she looked at me like I was her arch nemisis and she would go to any length to get rid of me. She slowly reaches for her beer bottle sitting on the oak table. She raises the bottle and chucks it right beside me. She was about one foot from hitting me. It smashes against the yellowing wallpaper creating a huge dent in the wall.
"DO YOU THINK I EVER WANTED THIS?" She screams with anger. "DO YOU THINK I ASKED FOR THIS? WELL LET ME TELL YOU, I DIDN'T! I NEVER WANTED TO HAVE A KID! I NEVER WANTED TO CARE FOR SOME STUPID KID! AND YOU KNOW WHAT PIPER? I ALMOST DIED GIVING BIRTH TO YOU! YOU COULD HAVE KILLED ME PIPER! HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL, HUH?" She says to me with such hate it can't even be put into words.
"Mom.." I manage to stutter but really it sounds like a grudge instead. I am going to cry now, I knew my mom never loved me but I never knew she hated me. I can feel tears rising to my eyes as I try to say something. But before I have time to, she starts to knock everything off tables, shelves, and desks. Things go flying everywhere. Hitting evrything in it's path. Our home was a wreck before, but it's even more of a wreck now. I can only stand there in disbeleif, scared for myself.
Then I spot swimmy on the shelf. He is the only thing that wasn't knocked over. My mom sees where I am looking and she grins at me. She was going to break swimmys bowl.
"MOM!" I scream as she prepares to throw a glass bottle. "STOP IT MOM!!!!"
She throws the bottle at swimmys bowl. The glass breaks within a instant. Water goes splashing everywhere and swimmy falls onto the floor. I run over to him, quick get a bowl fill it with water, and put swimmy back inside. I couldn't beleive what she had done. I hate her. I hate her so much.
"Hows it feel Piper? How does it feel to see things fall apart before your eyes?"
"I hate you mom." Thats all I have to say to her. I'm done. I'm not wasting my breath on her anymore.
I take swimmy up to my room, and get out another fish bowl. I had two of them because the one he had before was too small for him. But I still kept it anyways. I filled up the bowl and put in some water conditioner so all the toxins were out of the water. Swimmy didn't seem too effected by the fall, but I sure am effected.
Thats it. I'm done. I'm running away, I can't take this anymore. My mom could have blinded me today and killed my best friend. She won't care awnyway, in fact, she probably will be releived that I ran away. And my dad? He can have my mom all to himself, shes his problem now. I won't take much when I run away, probably just the basics and then a few extras.
I have a plan. Today is the 22 of December, so I plan on leaving this rathole on the 23. It won't be hard for me to slip out considering the lack of care my parents have around here. I"ll probably leave at 5:00 tomorrow night, thats when my dad is gone and my mom is drinking her heaviest.
I am going to bring a backpack stuffed with clothes, money, shampoo, and a couple snacks. I have about $700.00 in money, my parents don't know I have any money. For the past few years I have saved up lots of cash by doing work for people. In the winter sometimes I shovel peoples driveways, and in the summers I mow lawns and wash cars. I figured my parents won't give me any money so I will have to earn it myslef. I would have more money, but I spent some of it on other things.
I plan on bringing swimmy with me. I have a few ideas as to how I can trasport a goldfish in winter. Tonight, I will take a walk to the grocery store and steal a shopping cart. It won't be too hard considering it's dark and no one will be watching a 15 year old girl at Giant. Once I have the shopping cart, I will just leave it on the road near our trailer. Then, tomorrow when I go to leave i'll take swimmy, put him in the shopping cart and stuff the cart with blankets. I will stuff it so much that he is surrounded by blankets. That will serve as a heat source and it will also keep his bowl from moving all around and spilling. For added heat, I will run up tonight when I go to get the shopping cart and buy some flashlights. I will put the flashlights tucked in the blankets having the light face swimmys bowl and the light will shine into his bowl.
It took some time to figure it out, but I think the whole plan will work nicely. There was no way I'm leaving swimmy at home. My mom would probably kill him. I have to admit, I'm a little excited to leave. It will be nice not to have to worry about anyone else expect for me and swimmy. And I don't even care that I will be spending Christmas alone, in fact, it will probably be the best Christmas for me ever. Plus I won't have to go to school anymore. I hate school anyways, it's just full of people I hate and never want to see again.
I just can't wait to leave. I'm so sick of everyone in my house. They all make me so angry and sad. This is my Christmas gift now, it's from me to me.
It's 5:30 now so I will head out to get that shopping cart and the flashlights for swimmy. I walk downstairs and I see my mom on the floor crying. She is in a fetel position and shes sobbing very loud. I tell myself to ignore it, but I can't. I just can't ignore it.
"Mom?" I question walking over to her cautiously. "Are you okay?"
"GET OUT!!" She screams at me. "JUST GO AWAY PIPER! DON'T COME BACK!"
"Fine mom." I say calmly. I'm not going to argue with her anymore, i've made that mistake before. It hurts what she says to me, but I won't let it bother me because she doesn't care about me.
I'm about to leave the house. I have no idea where my dad is and I don't care either. They can both go to jail for all I care. Giant is about a mile from where I live. I live on Austinburg road in Ashtabula Ohio, so there isn't much around but there is everything basic that you need. I set out to get that shopping cart, I take one final look at my mother laying on the ground and then leave. It's really cold outside and I'm only wearing a sweatshirt.
As I'm walking along the road, a blue car comes speeding down the street and throws water on me. He has his window down and the driver slowed up just enough so that his buddy could throw some water on me and get me soaking wet. I scream "IDIOTS!" and then give them the finger. I don't normally do that, but I was angry.
They soaked me, and it was freezing outside. I am pretty close to Giant so I figured theres no point in turning back now. I am shivering so much, that I think I might die.
"There it is!" I yell excidely. I don't care if anyone hears me, I'm just happy to be at Giant.
I figure I will get the shopping cart last so I don't have to carry it around in the store. I walk into the warm grocery store and I see a ton of food that looks delicious. But I can't get it, I have to save my money for more inportant things than snacks. I go over to their "practical section" at least thats what I call it because they have ponchos, umbrellas, and stuff like that over there. There are 6 flashlights left in stock and I'm going to buy them all. They also have batteries so I am going to buy some of them as well. I am going to the self checkout because it's a lot faster then having the cashier check you out.
Then I thought of it. I don't really have to even pay for my groceries... It's 6:30 at night on a tuesday. No one is shopping now, only a few people are around and the cashiers are talking amongst themselves. I can just swipe all my stuff; like I'm going to pay, then put them in the bag, clear my purchase and walk out.
I walk over to the self-checkout and no one is over there. So I swipe my stuff and in the bag they go. I click the "HOME" button on the screen and walk away from it. Well that was extremly easy! If I would have payed the total would have been $17.47. I got two packs of duracell batteries so I think thats what jacked the price up. I just walk out of the store and head over the the cart rack outside. There are a few people standing there not really doing much, but I don't think they will be too much trouble. I put my bag into the cart and slowly start to walk away. The people standing there don't really look at me so I walk a little faster. This is going pretty well, but I am really cold because I haven't dried off yet. So I start to run with the cart.
I continue to run with the cart to dry off and to get home faster. After 28 minuites of pain and side-stiches I'm home. I park the cart about 60 feet down from my house and proceed to go inside with my flashlights and batteries. I walk in the house and my mom is still laying on the ground. She doesn't even glance at me, so I walk upstaris. Swimmy seems to be doing okay, hopefully he will survive the cold nights. He can live through anything though.
I have a lid for his bowl so the water doesn't spill, In about a day, me and swimmy will be venturing out on our own... for the first time.
I have a half an hour till I'm supposed to leave. I have everything packed up and ready to go. My mom is in a really bad mood today, she won't talk to me even if I try. So leaving sounds really good right about now to me. There is a concern I have though... It's supposed to snow tonight. And when I say snow, I don't mean flurries. I mean a fullblown snowstorm, 7 inches is what the weathermen are saying.
I really want to set off tonight though. I can't postpone it now just because of a stupid snowstorm. If worst comes to worst, I can take shelter in a abandoned building or something. There are plenty of them in Ohio, and it will be easy to find one. Thing is, how is swimmy going to hold up? He has survived many things in his life but never a snowstorm. He should be okay; I have plenty of warming devices with me for him. It's final. I am going to leave tonight and nothing will stop me.
My dad isn't even home tonight. Him and his few gambling buddies went out to California to play in the Casinos. His friends are rich, don't ask me how my father hooked up with them because I have no idea. So I won't even be able to give a discreet goodbye to him. What am I talking about? He's never cared about me anyways, not once in my life has he said he loves me... not once. My mom has,but getting her to say it is like ripping finger nails off. She never meant it.
What is she going to do? Who is she going to be with? My dad doesn't care about her at all, and she doesn't even have the decentcy to care about herself! I was the only one there for her and she turned me down. Now shes going to have to ride solo, because I'm done wasting my breath for her amusment.
I get my stuff ready and I decend down the stairs with swimmy's bowl in my arms. The backpack is situated and my cart is still waiting for me outside. I reach the bottom of the stairs and my mom is staring at me from the tattered up blue couch. She stares into my eyes with a menacing look on her face. I can't tell what she is thinking, she makes it so hard to read her. She walks towards me and stops about 2 feet away from me. She must know something is up because now that shes closer, I can see worry in her eyes. Which by the way I have never seen before, so I'm not exactly sure. She raises her cracked, worn out hands, and proceeds to touch my face ever so gently. She keeps her hand there for a minuite or so, saying nothing and then slinking away back to her drinking corner.
I was starstruck. What has my mom just done? What did this mean? Should I leave now? Questions poured through my head as I replayed the scence over and over again. For what felt like hours, but was only minuites I stood there thinking, questioning my decision to leave. I look into the kitchen and I see my mom grab another beer and guzzle it down. Reality hit and I felt like I was being thrown under a bus. My mom didn't care about me, she just wanted her beers. I stood at the entrence of the door, feeling guilty. I wanted my mom to do something terrible right now so I could justify leaving. I decide it's not worth feeling guilty over. I turn around, take one last look at my sad excuse for a house and slink out the door... like I was never there.
The cold is brutal. I keep picturing that look my mom gave me. I can't go back in there, I still had some dignity left. Who cares if she drinks herself to death, she doesn't even care. Im gone now and theres nothing they can do to stop me. Swimmy was swimming around in his bowl as if he was still on that shelf in the living room. Hes a tough little thing and I am thankful I have the most valuable thing in my life right now with me. The shopping cart is now withen visibility, and im anxious to get a new start to my sad excuse for a life. I walk a few more feet and im now at my "car." I set swimmy inside all wrapped in blankets. I place the lid on top of his tank and set 3 flashlights up all around the blankets. I use the other 3 to see in the darkness. I walk and walk and walk. It seems like hours but has really only been 30 minuites. Im freezing and hungry. I just passed giant, but i figure it probably wouldn't be wise to go in there right after i stole $17.47 of stuff last night.
So i decide to head over to Weis, their literially 70 feet away from Giant. Why two grocery stores are right next to each other I will never understand, but the whole thing panned out in my favor. I decided to bring the shopping cart in with me, just so swimmy could get some warmer air. Of course no one was really shopping, it was two days away from Chirstmas (one till Christmas Eve) and everyone had already gotten their shopping done. I walk in and am greeted by a rush of warm air. They had their heaters on high, boy did that feel nice. I scanned the area looking for cheap food that didn't need much preperation. I decided to head into the "soup" isle, or at least thats what I call it. I've been in these grocery stores so many times I could proabably recite all the prices to everything on the shelves. My mom never bothered to go shopping, and my dad always bought out for himself all the time. So I was the one that got stuck shopping for us. The soup isle was loaded with all different kinds and varities of any type of soup you could imagine. Damnit. I needed a microwave or stove, I forgot I don't have access to appliances like that anymore! How could that have slipped my mind, it seemed so obvious but I guess I was just being oblivious. I slap myself in the forehead.
One of the stock employees saw me in distress I guess, because one came over to me and started chatting up a storm.
"Hey, can I help you with anything?" Said a boy about my age, maybe a little older.
"Umm no" I relpied, taken aback by the attractiveness of him "I think i'm good here."
"Well you looked a bit confused, are you sure you don't need anything?" He says to me with a bit of concern ratteling about in his exhausted face.
"No really i'm fine, thanks though." I say hoping he will extend himself even further. His short brown hair, dark brown eyes and muscular build had me captivated.
"Well, you seem really tired. Do you have a place to crash? I live with my grandmother, and shes always open to helping folks out. Im sure you could stay with us for the night, I hope im not being to forward." He ended that sentence with a smirk that sent me over the edge.
"No I couldn't inturde like that on you, I don't even know your name!" I reply hoping he will practically force me to come with him. I really want to go, but I don't want to be a snob about it.
"My name is Jake, I used to live in Brooklyn New York, but there were some family problems so I moved here to Ohio with my grandmother. Whats your name?"
"Im piper." I reply enthused that this boy actually takes intrest in me. "I have lived in Ohio my whole life and" Oh great, I can't say I ran away. I need to think of something quick or else this is over. "And my parents are away on a vacation for awhile so im staying by meself for the time being." Thats the best I could come up with.
"Oh that sounds lonely. I mean it, come stay with us, we'd love to have a guest come over. Im 16 so I already have my permit, now I just need to get my lisence. Do you have your permit yet?"
"Oh no, im 15. But i'll soon be 16 so i'll be getting mine soon!" I know I won't be getting my permit anytime soon. That costs money witch currently im low on. And theres a need of a legal parent or gardian. Which at the moment im lacking.
"Cool! So what do you say? I can call my gradma, and she'll pick us up. Don't worry, she will love you. I mean if your confortable with all of this." He was kinda stumbling on his words which made me giggle a little.
"Hmm, alright!" I say with a smirk. "You call your grandma and Jake?"
"Hmm yeah?'' He says while dialing the number of his grandma.
"Thanks a lot." I say with pure sincerity. "It does get lonely, espically in this state where its practically farms, farms and more farms. It means a lot to me."
"No problem... err Piper right?"
"Yeah hah, thats my name."
I was enthused beyond beleif. All I could do was stare at this beautiful boy while he called his grandma. He cares enough about me to offer his house to me! I never imagined anything like this would ever happen, espically in my condition. Here is this cute boy whom I could only dream of taliking to. And he strikes up a converstation with little me. My clothes are soiled, faded, and my hair is a mess. I look like a complete wreck, and he still will talk to me. I completly forgot about Swimmy, who was still in the cart. I need to bring him with me to.
"Hey um jake, do you mind if I bring my goldfish with me?" I say hoping he won't think im a total freak.
He holds up his pointer finger, signiling me to wait a moment. He was still on the phone with his grandma. I whisper a quick "sorry" and twiddle my thumbs.
"Hey sorry that took so long. I told her everything and she said she would be more than willing to have you as a guest. And what was that you wanted to say to me?" He says staring deep into my soul, or at least thats what it felt like.
"I was wondering it I could bring my goldfish over to your place?"
"Sure! Thats cool with me! I was wondering what was in all those blankets, whats his name?" He inquiers"
"Um Swimmy, I named him when I was younger so don't judge." I say in a joking manor.
"Hah, no judging going on here! Just one question, why did you bring him here with you?" He had a puzzled look on his face.
"Well..." I need to think of something quick and smart. Why would anyone bring a goldfish to a store? "Since I get lonely, I pack him up and bring him with me. Hes a conforting little fella. Sounds silly right?" I can't stand lying to this boy who has been so completly honest with me. I feel really bad.
"No not at all, I think thats pretty neat. You bringing him all the way here so you can have company." He replies ever so sweetly to me.
"Well, thanks! When should your grandma be here?" I can't wait much longer, this is so exciting!
"About 10 minuites from now, she lives awhiles away. About 30 minuites from here. I called her about 20 minuites ago, so soon!"
"Okay, but don't you still have to work?" I ask.
"Yeah but my shift ends in five minuites. Theres not much to do now since we are only open till 1:00 pm tomorrow. Which makes me wonder, your parents left you right before Chistmas? Aren't you going to miss them?"
I had to respond carefully to this question. "Well, my situation is probably a bit different than you think. My parents are umm... not the lovey-dovey type. So i'm not going to miss them to much." Thats the first lie I haven't told him the whole night.
"Thats a shame, my parents were the same way, they didn't care about me so my grandmother got involved. Now I live with her. It was quite the change, but I got adjusted. If you ever need to talk, im here for you." He assures me with a twinkle in his eyes. "Hey why don't we wait outside for my grandmother. She should be here pretty soon."
"Yeah... sounds good." I reply.
"Hold on. I gotta get my wallet in the storage room and then we can go out. Stay here!"
He moves so swiftly down the isle. I can't help but wonder if I have a future with this boy. He seems so loving and caring, i've never met anyone like him. I am daydreaming when I hear him call my name.
"Piper! We should probably head out now, my grandma hates waiting!"
"Ok, you lead the way."
We wait for Jakes grandma in the dark of the night. It sounds silly, but I felt like I was in a romantic movie. The wind was blowing softly, the moon was at it's fullest. It seemed so real but fake at the same time. Next thing I knew, I saw a silver camero pull up.
"Hey gram!" he calls "This is Piper, the girl I was telling you about on the phone!"
She looked like the perfect grandmother. She had rosey red cheeks, grey hair pulled back in a bun, and a smile that warmed your heart the minuite you layed eyes on it. Her window was down a bit, so I could see her features.
"Well hello there dear. You look like you've just ran a marathon! Jake here told me your parents are away? No need to be shy, come on over here!"
"Umm yeah hah. My parents are away. I really appreciate you letting me come over. I honestly need to company and I think it's really sweet that you and Jake are opening up your home for me." I try to sound sincere, and I am. But im so tired, I don't think even a simple hello would sound inviting.
"Well hop on in hun. It's really no trouble at all, we would love to have you stay. Jake, sit in the back with Piper."
Jake opens my door for me and then when im in, shuts it. I've never had a guy do that for me before. He climbs in and his grandmother starts the car. It's an old car, but I really don't care. All that concerns me is the confort of a real bed. Not a mattress, a real bed.
"So Piper, how long have you been living in Ohio?" Jakes grandma asks me.
Im really not in the mood for smalltalk, but these people are taking me in. I have to participate wheather I like it or not.
"All my life actually, this is where I was born."
Then it hit me. Swimmy. I completly forgot him back at the grocery store.
"Swimmy! I forgot my goldfish! Mrs. Umm Jakes grandma could you please turn back? Im so sorry."
"Ohhh no problem at all dear, and you can call me Jean."
I feel so stupid. I left my goldfish back at Weis. A+ for making a fool out of myself. There was a long lull of silence. I guess Jake could tell I felt bad.
"Its okay Piper" Jake reassures me "You had a lot on your mind, in fact I will run in and get him. You stay here."
Just before I have time to thank him, we pull up to Weis and he runs out to get swimmy. We were only half a mile away from Weis when we left. It only took him about 2 minuites to grab swimmy.
"Here"he says opeing the car door, but stuggling a little so I gave him a hand. "Heres Swimmy, and your blankets... oh and here are your flashlights." He looked so cute when he was stressed.
"Thanks a million Jake. I owe you." I say, kind of embarssed I haven't done anything kind for them yet.
"Dont worry about it. No need for IOU's. Just doing what I can to help a pretty lady like yourself."
Did he just call me pretty? I look like trash! What is going on here? Is this a dream? Wake up! Thoughts flood through my head.
"Honey, don't feel like you have to stay awake on our behalf. Lay your head down... take a nap. We have 30 minuites till we arrive." Coaxes Jean.
"Well alright, thanks! And Jake I really appreciate the kind words. You don't know how much they mean to me."
"Sure thing Piper."
And im out. Thats the last thing I hear before the screeching of car brakes. I wake to see headlights coming head on. The car is smashed and I hear screming coming from the front of our car. I look and see Jean bleeding emensly. Jake is wounded, but not as bad as his grandma. The other car we hit is flipped over behind us. Jake pulls his phone out and dials 911.
"Hello?? Hello?? Yes i need the fire department... Right near Austinburg road in Ashtabula Ohio. Yes further down the road from Weis. Send an ambulance, theres been a car accident. A woman in her mid 60's in bledding bad."
I heard an right away,and then the dialtone.
"Jake is your grandma okay?"
"No Piper. Give me my sweatshirt in the back."
I do as he says and I watch as he holds his grandmother while wraping the sweatshirt around her bruised, bleeding head.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Im feeling hopeless right now.
"Yeah. I have my grandma but go check on the other people in the car behind us. Are they ok?"
I run over to the car that hit us. Everyone is out and they all look fine, just damaged up. They see me coming over, knowing im from the other hit vehicle and they look at me discusted. What the heck? They are all fine and not a single one comes over to help? Not even to check?
"Hey! Your in the car that hit us!" Calls one of the men. There are 2 men and 2 women.
"Yeah!" I yell back. Actually they hit us. "Is everyone alright?"
"What the hell is your grannys problem? She could have killed us! Old people not watching whats going on around them! It pisses me off! Well don't think im going to help you out. Because Im not!"
Im dumbfounded. Here these people are, blaming Jean for the accident? A sweet old woman, and they aren't even going to help us?
"Knock it off! Shes bleeding really bad, and a ambulance is on its way! We don't need your help!" I say nervously as all getout.
The one woman trys to calm her raging boyfriend or husband im not sure which.
"Get away from me Carie! That woman could have killed us! And your pregnent! What if the baby is hurt? Aren't you at all concerned? And it's this old womans fault!"
I hear sirens in the background. I leave the scene and run over to Jake and his grandmother.
"Is she doing okay?" I ask, hoping he will say yes.
"No, she doesnt look to good. Here comes an ambulance."
They pull up and men rush out. I lead them in the direction of Jean and they carry her away on a strecher. They ask Jake if there is anyone over 18 they can call. He replies with a no, and they tell us to get in the back with Jean.
They ask Jake if he knows her bloodtype. He does and says its B+. I can't believe this happened. Now im sitting in the back of an ambulance with Jake and his grandmother. He looks so worried.
"Jake, it'll all be ok. It looks worse than it really is. She will be just fine." I say trying to reassure him.
"How do you know Piper? What if this is it for her? Shes 67 and shes fragile. What if this is it Piper? Shes the only good thing I have left in my life. SHE CAN'T LEAVE ME." He screams.
I don't think consolidation will help so I shutup. He needs time to think. I hear him crying ever so softly. I lean in and hug him. He hugs me back. And for the first time ever, I felt like I was loved.
The ambulance is speeding faster and faster. I really have no idea how long the nearest hospital is from where we crashed. I never went to a hospital in my entire life. Jake looks over at me in distress, his eyes are like daggers in my heart. To see him so sad just breaks me; even though we just met. I can't stop thinking to myself "this is all your fault. If you would have never ran away this wouldn't have happened.'' I know deep down this isn't really my fault but the thoughts rage through my mind.
"Gradma?" Jake whispers. "Can you hear me? Stay with me, don't let go. I know you probably want to, but just hold on tighter don't let go." And with that he breaks down into tears. I can only try to console him, everything else thats going on is out of my power.
"Jake" I say "This isn't the end for her. I didn't know her for long, but she seems like a fighter. She will come out of this better than ever." I don't know if I was saying that to convinve Jake or myself more. Yes she did seem like a fighter but realitly had to come into play at some point too. She WAS 67 years old, I don't really know how much more she can take.
"Look Piper." Jake states "I apprecitate you trying to make me feel better but can you not? I just need my time, we should be at the hospital soon and when I get the confirmation that she will be alright you can talk all you want. But for now, can you please just support me without words?" He seems really taken aback by this, naturally, but I honestly do think his grandma is all he ever had.
"Yeah sure Jake, I'm sorry I just feel a little helpless and I want to help you." The ambulance pulls up shortly to the hospital. The sirens stop and the emergency medical team comes to get Jakes grandmother. They first command us to get out and then take her away on a strecher. We follow the strecher into the hospital. It smells of death and cleaning supplies. "Take her into room 442 and have Dr.Willow come to treat her immediently." Said one of the medical members. Quicky the nurses, doctors and emergency room staff jet down the hall with Jakes grandma. We have to keep up or else we will get lost. The hospital was huge and confusing. We run down the hall like it's the last thing we will ever do. The world seems to be moving in slow motion We are passing so many things but I can only concentrate on one-Jake. Selfish yes I know, his grandmother is here bleeding in the hospital and I can only think about Jake. Times seems to be at a standstill but not for long, finially we reach room 442 and Jean is wheeled into the hospital bed. The doctor comes rushing in quickly. "Are you two her grandchildren?" He inquires. "Just me." Cries Jake and raises his right hand slightly. "Alright. I am going to have to ask you both to leave the room. We cannot have any added distractions. I will have nurse Alyssa direct you to the waiting room and we will keep you updated with information we find. Can we call your parents, just so that we have an adult present?" The nurses are cleaning her up and hooking her up to some type of heart machine, it looked pretty scary.
Jake looks a little confused. 'Well, my parents really don't have anything to do with me. Legally their my gardians but we haven't spoken in years. We can manage I am 16 and shes 15" he says pointing at me. "I guess you could say we are mature for our age." The doctor looks concerned and seems to potray a bit of doubt in Jakes statement. "Alright I do not have time to dicuss the legality of this situation. We will figure this out once your grandmother is stable. Alyssa!" He yells "Take these two to the waiting rooom and make them confortable. Do not worry" he says directing his attention to us "We will take good care of her."
With that we were whisked away by the nurse and the door shut. The nurse was talking but we weren't listening. The only thing I heard was the blood pounding through my head and into my ears. Everything was a blur. It was currently 11:00 and I was beat, Jake looked wiped as well. We just sat there in utter silence, the last thing I remember was looking at him until I drifted faintly off to sleep.
I was awoken by the sounds of sirens in the distance. Ugh, I think to myself. More sirens? I look to my left and I see Jake passed out drooling a little. I decide it's best to let him sleep, he's been through so much in the past couple hours. What time is it? I look to the clock on the wall and it reads 1:37. Geez no one has come to fill us in yet? What is going on? What if they forgot we were out here? And as if I was wondering out loud, the nurse came to greet me. "Hey. We have the 411 on your grandmother." She states. I quickly wake Jake up. "Oh shes not my grandmother I am just a friend of Jakes." I am trying to wake Jake up but he won't budge. "Jake wake up the nurse is here." With that he shoots up like I just sprayed him with cold water.
"Yes? Whats going on? Is grammy ok?" He wonders full of fear. "Your grandma.." She starts "Is going to be put in the CCU."
"What the hell is that?" questions Jake.
"It's the critical care unit. Your grandmother suffered a severe blow to the head when you crashed. She has a TBI which is a traumatic brain injury. We are calling this a closed head injury, many patients get these from car crashes and such but because your grandmother is older the situation could be more problamatic. Dr. Willow is determining if her skull is fractured. We have concluded though that she has severe nerve damage and will be treated with the proper care needed until she can recover.I'm really sorry."
"Wait." says Jake "So she has brain damage? How serious? Will she need surgery? Who will pay for all of this if she isn't stable? Is she doing alright? Can I go see her?"
"Calm down. Yes she has severe brain damage. I know that might sound harsh but I do not want to suger coat anything. She will not need surgery right now. In the near future that is very probable. A monitoring device will be placed on your grandmothers head to messure the pressure in her brain cavity. Because this is a closed head injury sugery may not be able to help anything right now. If her skull is fractured, yes surgery will be nessacary. We are asking that no one visit her right now because the doctor is still monitoring her."
Jake looks devistated. He just throws his head into his hands and sobs.This is not what we were expecting at all. Severe brain damage? At 67? The odds were not looking up right now. I didn't know what to do other than hug him.
"I'm so sorry Jake." The nurse says "We will let you know immediently when you can come back and visit. Are you sure we can't call any adult? We at least need someone in here with you both."
"No. I have no one. My grandmother is it. The rest of my family is either dead, out of state or drunk somewhere in a bar. I have no one. Piper? Do you have anyone?" He inquires.
How am I supposed to respond to that? Oh yeah I have a dad that is probably god knows where gambeling, and a mother who couldn't care if she drinks herself to death. Plus none of my family cares enough to take me under their wing. "Um, no. I mean my family is all out of state and my parents are gone..."
"There you have it." Jake whispers. "We have no one. Unless you call my parents and demand they get in here, you just got us."
The nurse looks at us with pity. "May I have your parents phone number please? I am going to try and call them so they can come in." I know Jake is a little reserved and doesn't want to be embarssed but they really needed an adult present.
"(440) 552-2930" he says with disaray "Is my parents phone number. I doubt you will even be able to get ahold of them though. If you should happen to, let them know Jean is in critical condition."
"Will do. We will let you know if we get ahold of them and when you can come back and visit your grandma." says the nurse. She walks away to the front desk where she tries to call Jakes parents. She must have tried about five times because after each call, she would hang up and try again. I look over at Jake and he looks very drained, I see his eyes close and I figure he will just get woken up again when the nurse consults us. Then it hits me. Swimmy! I completly and totally forgot about him. It has been hours and he has not crossed my mind once.
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