(Play the song “Loosing my Religion,” by R.E.M while reading. Inspiration came from playing this song on my electric guitar).
The dark of the night, I awoke. Not knowing why I awoke that night. To this day I do not know. I found my sibling in the hall, why was he there? Our eyes met and both of us knew something was amiss. We stood there in darkness listening , listening to a faint sound trying to decipher what it was. As I awoke more, it was a car running. Yes , a car running. But why now at 3am? I was afraid to go see, and was scared of the darkness. My mind is running of possible scenarios but ignoring the worst. What is my brother thinking? I look to his face, it is blank and while his stare meets mine, I found myself not wanting to move but had to.
As we descended down the stairs, I held my breath. The still of the night brings us closer to the garage door which is shut. That sound, the sound of confusion in the wrong time of the night, but why? My thoughts turn to somewhat of anger than sadness as my mind churns. My stomach knots and I swallow to keep calm. At the door, I open it with my brother behind me. I was sixteen perhaps, my brother five years behind me. Always the example for him as my parents wanted it to be, I was brave. This was important to our parents, I was always reminded, he looks up to you.
The door opens and the light shines through. A few seconds pass as my eyes adjust and take in the scene. The garage door is shut, a window open, and a blue car running. Is that my mother in it? Really, there is a person slumped over on the steering wheel and yes indeed it is her. Why is she sleeping with the music on? A few seconds pass. Shock rolls over and I already knew. Standing there with my brother behind me, I couldn’t move but knew I should move fast. The realization hit me in a sinking feeling. Move , my mind tells me. MOVE, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, my mind screams. Save the day. I tell my mind , the window is open, she will not die. This is an attempt of despair , perhaps only trying half way.
My brother is just staring. I shut the door, and goto the phone, and call my grandmother explaining what I am seeing. She is coming right over. We wait in silence , I still don’t want to recognize the pain and why me? Why does this have to happen to us? This house is now forever tainted with underlying problems I never knew until now. It did not occur to wake my dad. I knew this would just be used against her and she would not hear the end of it if he knew or other family members on his side. The dysfunction between my parents was very high and affected us everyday of our lives.
My grandmother arrives. She comes in to console us and then boldly walks into the garage, awakens my mother, turns off the car, and opens the garage door. Then she takes my mother back to her bedroom, and puts her back to sleep. Just like that, without batting an eye. She tells us to go back to bed and puts us to bed. She leaves in silence just like a ghost. No drama, no need for alarm. We have officially grown up faster in that hour. Time keeps marching on.
I never addressed this issue for the rest of the years my mother was alive and my father never knew of this as far as I know. As I cry writing this, I guess I never bothered recognizing this much or sorting through the feelings. Did it really happen or was this all a dream?
Time marches on, my mind churns away, and dread encompasses me like a black hole. Ever sinking, wondering when it stops.