This December Night
by TC Booth
I know without a doubt that Mom is in his room sitting in the dark like she does everyday. Dad probably isn’t home and even if he is, he’d be drunk by now. There are days I want to scream at the top of my lungs and yell, I’m still here! It’s me, your daughter, Harper. I didn’t die with Zane. But they did. Their souls died that day leaving me with a shell of my parents. I not only lost my older brother the day he overdosed, I lost them. A lump of emotion rises and lodges in my throat. Emotion that I can’t release and I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried, but I can’t. I haven’t been able to for a year. The cold December rain trickles down my windshield, reminding me of the tears that remain unshed inside of me.
A voice from the radio slices through my thoughts and straight to my heart. “The heroin epidemic continues with yet another death of a young person in the county…” I snap the radio off and press a hand to my chest. The thump of the wipers is the only sound left in the car as the memories of that night crash down on me. If only I’d told Mom and Dad where Zane was going that night. I knew the party was bad news, but I wouldn’t rat him out. He was home on break from his first year in college and wanted to hang out with old friends. When the doorbell rang at one o'clock that morning, I knew it was bad. Nobody came to your house at that hour with good news.
I squeeze my eyes shut at the memory of my mother’s wail. I’d never heard someone in so much pain. I peel my eyes open just in time to see a blur in my headlights. My car smacks into something, jolting me forward. I throw open the door and rush to the front of the car. A deer lies on the road, its side rises and falls with shallow breaths. “I’m so sorry.” I say aloud in a shaky voice. My teeth chatter from the cold rain as I pull my phone out of my coat pocket. My first instinct is to call Cody. Then I remember I can’t. The one person who stood beside me, there for me even when I lashed out at him. My anger finally drove him away. He couldn’t take anymore and broke up with me last week. Loneliness falls over me like a wet blanket, I have no one. I sink to the wet ground and cover my face.
The faint sound of music drifts into the air. My radio. Startled I lift my head and see snowflakes floating from the sky . The words of the song Mary did you Know fall delicately around me along with the white flakes. The song comes to an end and the song Arms Wide Open takes over. The words bleed into me and seep into my soul. Like someone took a blindfold off of me, I see clearly that I’m not alone. He’s been with me all along. Tears pour from my eyes. I lift my face to heaven and let him carry the weight for me. I don’t know how long a sit there crying before my eyes wander back to the deer. It’s gone. A smile spreads over my face for the first time in forever. I feel light and peaceful. I get back into the car and head home knowing I can face anything after this December night.