tagNon-EroticThe Long Road Back Ch. 02

The Long Road Back Ch. 02


"It all started seven years ago. I was your normal 17 year old. Cheerleading captain, great boyfriend, you know the usual. It was the summer before my senior year in high school. Robert was home from College for the summer and I thought life couldn't get any better." I sighed then picked up the story. "It was....oh about the middle of June when I came home from the beach and heard my parents arguing. At first I didn't think anything of it. They argued all the time nowadays. But somehow this fight seemed different. I dropped my beach bag at the foot of the stairs then crept towards the study door. Robert was standing there looking in; when he saw me he put his finger to his lips then turned back to the noise inside the room.

I crept up beside him and looked around the partially open door. I could see mom sitting in a chair in front of my dad's desk and dad was pacing in front of her. Mom was crying. "I can't keep doing this JoAnne." I heard dad say.

'Dad couldn't keep doing what?' I wondered. I looked over at Robert but he just shook his head. So I turned back to the room.

"What about the kids Thomas?" I heard mom sob.

Dad stopped pacing and looked at her. "What about them? Robert is 19 and in college. Crystal is 17 and will be off on her own in another year or so. That's not a good enough reason to keep up this hoax of a marriage."

I heard mom choke on a sob but couldn't take my eyes from my father. I had always looked up to my dad. I always wanted to be just like him. I knew that Robert was a spitting image of what he had been like at his age. Even at 40 years old he was a handsome man. His strawberry blonde hair was thinning slightly and streaked with gray. He had a medium build and stood about 6' tall. I knew that mom and dad had been sweethearts all through high school and got married right after graduation."

I stopped talking a minute and looked around the room. Mom had tears in her eyes but she wasn't moving. She just looked at me. Jeff reached over and put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him. I leaned down and kissed the top of John's head then continued.

"I was pulled out of my memories by mom's voice. "But Thomas, don't you love me anymore?"

Dad knelt down before her and took her hands in his. "I've wanted to. I fell in love with you the first time I saw you walking down the hall in high school, but over the past few years. All the fighting and everything else have just gotten to me." He dropped her hands and stood up with his back to her. "I'm moving out. I'll file the papers so you don't have to worry about that." Then he turned back to her. "Don't worry, I'll make sure that you and the kids are taken care of." With that he walked towards the door.

I felt Robert grab my hand and pull me into the living room just as dad came out of the study. We stood there in silence for a minute just looking at each other. This kind of stuff happened to other families, it couldn't happen to ours. We just stood there as we heard the front door open and close. Then without a word, Robert pulled me into his arms. I rested my head on his shoulder and just cried.

I don't know how long we stood there, just holding each other, giving each other comfort. When suddenly I heard mom's voice from the doorway, "I know you guys heard everything." When we looked at her, she held up her hand. "Don't try to deny it. I saw you guys standing at the door. "Yes your father and I are getting a divorce. I....I..." It looked like she was trying to form words that just wouldn't come. Finally she just shook her head and turned away towards the kitchen.

I looked up at Robert and saw that he had tears in his eyes. My big, strong brother. The one who always beat up kids in school, who picked on me, was crying. I couldn't take this. This couldn't be happening. Pulling out of his arms I raced out of the living room and out of the house. I ignored Robert's voice calling after me.


I don't know how I got to my friend Sheila's house. One minute I was standing on our doorstep crying and the next I was pulling up in front of her house. Even to this day I don't know. I remember walking up and knocking on the door. When Sheila opened it, I fell into her arms. She kept her arms around me as we went upstairs to her room not saying anything to each other. Once upstairs, I slumped on her bed while she closed the door and put on some soothing music. "What happened?" She asked sitting down on the bed beside me.

All at once it all came out; the fight, Robert crying, mom's words. Everything just came out in a jumble. I wasn't sure if she actually understood a word I said. Reaching over she put her hand on my shoulder. "Its okay girl, I'm here. I've got something that will help."

Reaching into her nightstand drawer she pulled out two things, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a small box. She handed the bottle to me. I pulled it open and took a long drink. Enjoying the burning sensation as it went down my throat. I had closed my eyes when I took the drink and opened them to see Sheila holding what looked like a tightly wrapped cigarette... "What?" I asked looking at her as she lit it and took a drag.

"It's okay. Just take a drag." She said handing the joint to me. "It will make you feel better."

I took a drag off the joint and immediately started coughing. I held it in my free hand and looked at it once the coughing fit had stopped. "What is this?" I asked taking another drag, this time a smaller one.

"It's marijuana." Sheila said taking it from me and taking a long drag off of it before handing it back to me. "Jeremiah gets it for me."

I knew that Jeremiah was her older brother. Him and Robert were really good friends and shared a dorm room at school. "Your brother gets you drugs?" I asked taking another, deeper drag and then handing it back to her. I could feel it starting to take effect and lay back on the bed.

Sheila chuckled. I knew it was hitting her to. "Yea, I give him the money and he buys the stuff for me. All he asks in return is I share it with him occasionally."

I looked at my best friend and suddenly busted out laughing. I didn't know what I was laughing about; all I knew was that suddenly I felt a lot better."

I stopped talking and looked around at everybody. Everyone's eyes were on me. "I know I did some stupid things." I said suddenly feeling like I should be defending myself.

"I never knew Jeremiah did pot." Robert said.

I looked over at him. "I didn't either, until that day."

"He's where you got the drugs from, isn't it?" Robert asked. There was no accusation in his voice. Just pure fact.

I lowered my head and nodded. I heard Robert curse but I didn't look back up. "What ever happened to Jeremiah and Sheila?" I asked looking back at Robert. I hadn't seen either of them since the day I left.

Robert shook his head. "Jeremiah committed suicide last year. Put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger." I flinched. "Sheila? I don't know. Last I heard she had moved back east with some trucker."

I nodded then just shook my head. "I won't go into all the grisly details. I'll admit, I was screwed up and saw my only release in the drugs and alcohol. In my defense the only drug I did was pot. I never touched needles and wouldn't do any of the hard stuff." I looked up in surprise when I felt a hand take mine. Looking over I looked into Hawk's eyes and realized the hand holding mine was his. He was still hurting but he was showing his support, showing how much even after all this time he still cared.

I smiled at him slowly then picked up the thread of my story.

"It was the middle of August. For the first day in almost 2 months, I was actually straight and sober. I had spent the day down at the beach with some friends and went home to change for a party that was being held later that night. I walked into the house and was almost to the stairs when I heard mom calling me from the living room. "Crystal is that you?"

"Yea mom." I said walking towards the living room. I walked into the room and immediately noticed a woman I had never seen before. She wore a brown tweed suit and her graying brown hair was pulled back into a tight bun. "Hello." I said looking at her curiously.

"Crystal, this is Mrs. Jenkins. She is from the department of Children's welfare." Mom said looking at me.

"Hello Mrs. Jenkins. What are you doing here?" I asked looking from the strange woman to my mom and back to Mrs. Jenkins.

Mrs. Jenkins stood up and walked slowly towards me, her high heeled shoes clicking on the floor with every step. "Crystal, your mom called me."

"Crystal, you need help." I heard mom cry. Mrs. Jenkins turned to look at her and mom slumped down into her chair. Mrs. Jenkins nodded then turned back to me.

"As I said, your mom called me. She feels that you need help. You have a drug and alcohol problem."

"No I don't." I said automatically

"Yes you do dear." Mrs. Jenkins reached out and placed her hand on my shoulder. It was a light touch but I could tell there was steel beneath it. With one quick move she could subdue me without even trying.

I looked over at mom but she kept her face hidden in her hands. "Mom?"

Mrs. Jenkins tightened her hold on my shoulder just a bit. "Your mom and brother think you should go into drug and alcohol rehab. Since there isn't any around here for teenagers, you will be placed in foster care until you are 18."

I pulled out of Mrs. Jenkins grip and ran over to my mom. Kneeling down in front of her I grabbed her hands trying to get her to look at me. "Momma, I'll change. I'll give it all up. Just please don't send me away."

Mom just continued to cry. She wouldn't look at me.

I heard Mrs. Jenkins come up behind me and forcibly pull me to my feet. "Please Crystal. You don't want to make a scene do you?"

I glared at her, and then turned back to my mother. "If you do this I will never forgive you." I said with venom in my voice.

Finally mom looked up at me. Her eyes filled with tears. "I love you Crystal. I just want to see you get help. That's all. I just want to see you get help." Then she buried her face back in her hands.

I pulled away from her and looked at Mrs. Jenkins. Then without a word, I walked towards the front door. I heard Mrs. Jenkins behind me. When I got to the door I stopped. I couldn't open it; it was as if my fingers no longer worked. It was like my whole body was just a pile of jello. My mind was numb. I couldn't believe that my own mother would do this to me.

Mrs. Jenkins opened the door and pushed me towards it. Just before she closed the door behind us, I glanced once more inside. Standing on the steps leading to the upstairs stood Robert, there were no tears in his eyes this time. Only sorrow. I held his eyes with mine as long as I could until Mrs. Jenkins closed the door, then I turned and walked to her car, never once looking back."


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