This Morning: A Short Story
Crashing Back Down by Author Kristen Hope Mazzola, her debut novel, is now LIVE!! Don't miss out on this awesome read!
The smell of coffee mixing with bacon starts wafting under the door and into my room slowly bringing me into the morning consciousness. The sun rays dancing in through the shades remind me that it is supposed to be a beautiful Saturday and the last one of summer vacation. I wasn't sad that my senior years was about to start, I was sad that my older brother, Will, was going to be moving to Chicago for his internship this coming Monday.
Reluctantly pulling myself from the warmth of my covers, I pull my robe on over my pajamas and head for the delicious breakfast my mom had waiting for us. This was our tradition every Saturday since my Dad left, have a huge family breakfast with just the three of us. I shuffle into the bright kitchen to find my mom bouncing away to a James Taylor song playing from her iPad while cutting up pineapple. Her smile is infectious as it takes over her entire face while she greets me warmly.
I take a moment to look at my mom while I pour myself a cup of coffee. She's slender, still athletic looking with light auburn curls and bright green eyes, she is stunning. I think back about how far she had come in the ten years since her husband ran off with his secretary. I huff at the awful cliché that had absorbed most of my adolescence. Smiling still, she asks me if Will was awake. I call up to his room but nothing returns. We both shrug it off knowing that he was out late the night before with his fiancée, Kendall.
Taking a sweet piece of pineapple into my mouth, I sit on the bar-stool across from my mom. We share two cups of coffee while talking about all of the exciting changes that were happening, my last year of high school, applying for college, Will's move and engagement. My mom is beaming with pride and happiness as we giggle away realizing almost an hour had passed. I start to wonder how much longer my big brother was going to take, there's only so long I can smell bacon without going crazy.
My mom slides off her stool and heads to put on another pot of coffee for when Will finally wakes up stating that if he’d been sleeping this long the hang over was going to need some caffeine. I grab a few more pieces of fruit and lean on the counter with both elbows discussing my plans for my last week of summer. We go over the fact that I could not extend my curfew passed twelve and we make plans to head for Long Beach next Saturday. I sigh, thinking again about Will moving and decide that enough was enough; it was time for him to wake up.
My mom agrees saying that she will start cooking the eggs while I coax the hibernating bear from his cave. Trying one last attempt at calling from the bottom of the steps with no reaction, I trudge up the stairs and down the dark hallway to Will’s room. I gently press my ear to the door to listen to the soft tunes of Jim Morrison before banging loudly on the door yelling angrily at the door jamb for Will to finally join us. To my surprise there is not even a grunt of a response. Man, he really must have had too much to drink last night. My mind starts to jog a little making me realize that this has never happened before, yeah sure, Will would party, but never hard enough to not wake up at loud noises.
Suddenly I hear a faint cough from behind the wooden door and try to turn to knob, realizing the door was locked. Panic started to set in as I frantically began banging and shaking the knob, in our family we never locked our doors, we were not allowed to. I hear another cough as my mom rushes to my side. Her eyes wide with worry, she realizes why I am frantic. She rushes to her room, returning in seconds with the skeleton key to open the door.
Right when we flew the door opened, the world stopped. Everything was frozen in a horrible scene of red, black and white. My brother was sprawled on his bed naked on top of his bedding motionless. Blood was oozing from his wrists and coughing up from his lunges onto his pillow. His once gray sheets were crimson and glistening. All of his posters and pictures were torn from the walls and his guitar was smashed to splinters on the floor. I could not believe that my mom and I were peacefully living for the last few hours with this nightmare right next to us behind his closed door.
Before I can register my actions I am talking to a police dispatch operator telling her feverishly that my brother was barely alive and needed help. In the background I could hear my mother’s blood curdling screams as she rocks my brother in her arms. Her emotions flooding from her body, asking Will to not leave her too through broken words; pleading, begging, hysterically. I give the address to the soft, reassuring voice on the other end of the phone, begging them to hurry.
Dropping to my knees, I grasp Will’s slippery right hang to my cheek, his eyes barely open. Suddenly courage washes over me and I run out of the room. Rushing around frantic I gather the largest towels I can find and sprint back to the bed side, wrapping both of his arms as tightly as possible in a feeble attempt to stop the blood. I reach for my mom as the paramedics burst through the door and start to do their work. Gripping onto each other, we sob and pray while Will is carried out. We’re ushered to the ambulance and asked if one of us would like to accompany him to the hospital. My mother nods and asks me to call someone to drive me to join them. I tell her not to worry about me and release her hand after a loving kiss on the cheek.
I stand in the front yard holding myself while I watch the ambulance pull away. The first person that came to my mind was Kendall. I shudder at the thought of her reaction but knew I had to call her. I grabbed my phone, dialing her number. Just after one short ring, a sharp tongue answers telling me that she doesn't want to talk about the break up and that Will is going to have to deal with it. Without a word I hang up, shaking, realizing what had happened. Rage and sadness boil up from the pit of my stomach, making me sick right where I knelt. Through sobs and heaves on all fours I could not get the image of all of the blood out of my head.
I stayed there for an unknown amount of time, until a familiar voice rang into my ears, asking me to come with her. Looking up, I saw the love and compassion of my mom’s best friend, Candice, offering me her hand to help me to my feet. She embraced me while telling me that my mom had called her from the hospital and asked if she could drive me. With gratitude I climb into the passenger seat of her faded-blue chevelle. I choke out my words of concern and the most beautiful ones came from Candice’s lips in response, my brother was going to make it, I had found him just in time.