Writing

The Love of A Friend; (Continuation of Living In A Nightmare)

**This is the second part to “Living In A Nightmare” ** Enjoy! 🙂

the-love-of-a-friend

 I woke up to the sound of my alarm coming from the floor beside my bed. Unwillingly, I threw the covers off and kicked my big furry friend to the floor, reaching for my phone. The closer the alarm sounded, the more it seemed to ring inside my head. I felt like I woke up with the biggest hangover of my life, although I’ve never been drunk before. I’ve seen Sloane wake up with one and I imagined this is exactly what it must feel like. Sloane said it felt like being hit by a truck and well, that’s exactly what I felt at the moment. Except the truck that hit me last night was in the form of a hundred and twenty pound woman.

I turned off my alarm and looked down to examine my aching body. I had two bruises on my left arm and a few scratches. I lifted my shirt and gently touched both sides of my ribs and there was a lump on the left with a nice shade of purple to go with it. I relived each moment whenever I inhaled too deep and I thought I must be dreaming, I thought I’d wake up from this awful nightmare. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a nightmare and I had to get ready to go to school, pain or no pain. There was nothing that would keep me in this house anyway and I got up as quickly as I could manage, I grabbed the first t-shirt and jeans I laid eyes on. Not my best ensemble but it was simple and I needed to get out of this poisoned room as fast as possible.

I shimmied into my skinny jeans and pulled my little grey t-shirt over my head and grabbed my phone to text Sloane. It was six forty-five and Sloane already texted me that she would be on her way in five minutes. That gave me just enough time to wash up and pull my hair in a ponytail.

I grabbed my backpack and quietly made my way to the bathroom so I could get ready and walk out the door unoticed.I didn’t want to leave a chance to bump into my mother. Even though I figured with as much as she had to drink last night, it would take an entire army to wake her.

I washed up and neatly tied my curls in a pony in record time. I heard Sloane pull up outside, I walked to the coat closet near the front door and slipped on my black Vans and bolted out like a bat out of hell. I rushed over to Sloane’s car and her smile faded as soon as I got closer to the door. I jumped in and slammed the door with more force than I meant to. Sloane’s eyes were on me like a hawk and I couldn’t bring myself to meet them.

“Please, just drive.” It was a plea in itself and Sloane knew not to ask, just do what her best friend asked of her and I loved her for that. She drove off and slowed down as we entered the school zone. It was still early so we sat in the car with that grew larger and as heavy as a tractor sitting on my chest. I knew she was waiting for me to start but I didn’t know where to begin.

“You want to tell me what happened babe?” She asked as she placed a careful hand on my shoulder. I looked from my trembling hands to her face and began to cry.

“Oh— hey, sweetheart. Damn it. It was your mother wasn’t it? Did she get wasted again?” She asked with far too much anger in her voice as she leaned in to hug me. I hunched over to lean in to her embrace and let myself cry violently in my best friends arms.

“I… I just don’t know why she has to be so damn cruel.” I said through heavy cries.

“It’s alright, Lydia I have you okay. You can totally stay at my place until things blow over with your mom.”  Staying at Sloane’s place wasn’t exactly ideal. Her parents were always fighting but anything was better than being at home with a monster of a mother. Although, Sloane’s mother has always asked a thousand and one questions when I was over. It’s almost as if she got a kick out of hearing my sorry stories of a shattered home.

“Thanks.” I said as I wiped my face with the back of my hand.

“You know I’m always here for you, babe.” Sloane turned the key in the ignition and left the school grounds, speeding off towards her house. I must have dozed off because it seemed like we were there in the blink of an eye. Sloane nudged my shoulder before she opened her door.

“We’re here, Lyd. Let’s hurry up before my parents wake up. I’m sure my mom will have s list of questions when she sees you.

“Yeah, okay.” I said as I forced myself out of the car. I just wanted the night to be over. I felt like I had been up for days. I would think I’d be used to my mothers outbursts by now. I have been dealing with them for as long as I could remember after all.

“Try not to make any noise okay.” Sloane unlocked the door, put her finger to her lips as if I didn’t already know the drill. I nodded and locked the door behind me. We tip-toed all the way down the dark hall and made it to her room without waking her parents. I sighed in relief as I dropped my bag and kicked off my shoes.

Sloane flicked the light switch to her bedside lamp, revealing a mess of clothes on her bed and floor. Smiling, I walked over and helped pick up the mess, throwing it to side so we could worry about it tomorrow.

“I just want to sleep for a week.” I said. Wriggling out of my jeans, Sloane tossed me some cotton shorts. I slid them on and climbed into her bed first so I could lay by the wall.

“I know. Me too, babe but unfortunately, we don’t have a week. We have about three hours before my parents get up so get some rest and we’ll go grab some food at the town square, okay?” She said with a wink. I nodded and slid over a bit to make more room for her. Sloane shut the light and as we lay there silent with morning light creeping through the blinds, I thought how peaceful I felt and wished that once I fell asleep, I would never wake up.

Sloane let out a deep sigh and grabbed my hand. “You know you’ll never be like her, right?”

I was shocked and not exactly surprised that my best friend already knew one of my darkest fears, becoming my mother.

“Yeah, I know.” I said as I gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

“I love you,Lyd.”

“Love you too, Sloane.” I sunk deeper into the pillow and at last, everything went dark.

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing

Living In A Nightmare

living-in-a-nightmare

“Uh, mom? Are you okay?” I asked as nicely as I possibly could.

“I’m just fucking perfect, Lydia.” She slurred her words and stumbled around my room as if she were searching for something. I was hoping she would get whatever was on her chest out so I could settle in bed. I was in no mood and sleep began to linger.

“Your father just left. He said he wants”— Her words cut off by the flow of tears that just started. I was confused by my own feelings for my mother as I sat there and watched her cry. I hated her for being a drunk but my heart ached for her whenever she was hurt in any way. No matter what she will always be my mother and nothing will ever change that. Might as well make the best of it.

I led her to my bed so we could sit down and talk. She could barely stand up and it would have only been a matter of time before her knees gave out on her. I rubbed her back to comfort her even though what I really wanted was for her to get the hell out of my room and sleep off the whiskey.

“What’s wrong? What happened with dad?” I asked as I continued to rub her. She looked up at me with red puffy eyes and mascara stained tears.

“What happened with your dad?” She asked as if I should already know. She shrugged my hand off of her and got up with clenched fists. “What happened with your father is that he’s a piece of shit. I should have left him years ago.” She kept pacing my room in a way that made her look more like a crazy person who’s lost their way.

“Uh, mom? Maybe you should go lie down? You look pretty tired.” I suggested and immediately regretted it as she spun around to face me and stepped up as if to stomp an ant.

“You think I should what? Why? Because I’ve been drinking? Well guess what Lydia? I have never been more sane in my entire life. Your father is a cheating piece of shit and you can go with your precious daddy when he moves his shit out of here.” She said angrily as she stepped closer to me, forcing me to step back until I fell onto my bed.

“Mom, I never said I wanted to live with dad. Is that what you want? Do you want me to go?” I asked, a bit surprised that she would even suggest that since we barely even spoke on a daily basis. She stepped even closer, looming over me and placed her clenched fists on either side of me for support.

Her whiskey breath showered over my face and I turned my face away for fresh air. It was moments like these that I wished I could be anywhere else in the world. I knew my mother had her issues but this was just ridiculous and I wanted to be as far away from her as possible.

“What? You don’t like it when I get all up in your face like this? Huh?” She continued as she leaned in even closer. I had no room left to lean back and found myself lying down on my bed with my mother over me. Her hair brushed against me as she kept poking at me with her words, waiting foe me to react.

I was never much for violence, especially against my mother but she was seriously pushing my buttons and I couldn’t stand the smell of alcohol any longer. I pushed her off me and she landed right beside me on my bed. I got up quickly but to my surprise, even in her drunken state, my mother grabbed a hand full of my hair and pulled me down on the floor.

“You stupid little bitch! How dare you put your hands on me!” She screamed as she jumped on top of me and wildly began releasing her rage. I put my arms up above me to shield my face from her fists. She continued to use me as a punching bag and for a moment I thought, This isn’t really happening to me is it?

I felt a punch to my rib that felt more like a kick as I felt the air leave me. “Mom please! Stop!” I yelled as I kicked my legs up to get her off of me and she only seemed to get heavier as she sat on my midsection.

“You think I don’t know what you really think about me Lydia? I know what you really think of the woman who brought you into this world!” She continued to scream as she hit at my arms.

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about but I didn’t dare say anything as she clawed at my arms, trying to get to my face. When is this going to end? I thought to myself. “Mom, please stop.” I begged as pools of tears formed in my ears.

Much to my surprise, she let her hands drop and sat beside me, crying hysterically as if she were the one getting beat.

“I— I’m so sorry Lydia. You think of me as some terrible woman while you put your father on a pedestal. Well guess what? He’s not so fucking perfect like you make him out to be, ok. I deserve to be treated with respect. I deserve to be loved.” She sobbed as she raked a shaky hand through her hair. I was scared to move from where I lay and I could feel the aches radiating throughout my body. There will definitely be bruises tomorrow, I thought as I slowly pushed myself up with my elbows. I wanted nothing more than to escape her, to escape this hell I was in.

“I found your journal.” She said, suddenly turning the sobbing off. I looked her in utter shock and thought, No wonder she went all ballistic! I wrote about how I felt, knowing she was sleeping around and how I felt like I had no mother at all, just a strange woman who I was stuck living with.

“I know that you hate me, that you think I’m a whore. Well, blame it on your father.” She looked straight at me and I instantly felt the urge to move back but instead, I sat there, frozen. “I found out your father was having an affair about a year ago. I bet you thought your dad was so perfect, huh? Well, your father has been screwing someone else for over a year.” She looked at me as if I should somehow be sorry for her but in a way, I guess I didn’t blame my dad for wanting to find happiness somewhere else. My mother had been drinking long before all this and she wasn’t an easy person to live with.

I wasn’t sure what I should say or more so, what I shouldn’t say. I just wanted her to get out of my room.

“Mom, I”— I started but she cut me off with eyes swimming in alcohol and sadness.

“Save it, Lydia. I know you’ve always loved your father more than me. Maybe I’m too tough on you sometimes but my parents were tough on me too and it’s the only way you’ll learn to survive in this world.” She said as if she were laying out the secrets of the universe.

What a huge load of bullshit, I thought to myself. How could she just sit there and tell me all this while drunk out of her mind? I wondered how much longer my mother would live if she kept going on this way.

“Remember something, Lydia,” she began as she pushed herself up from the floor and walked to my door, “I love you and I would give my life for you, but I won’t live an empty life for much longer.” She stumbled out of my room without another word.

I immediately got up and locked my door and hoped she would pass out for the rest of the night. I looked down at the silver doorknob and made a silent wish for the lock to keep the demons out. I turned around to see what a mess my room had become and quickly started cleaning up.

I bent down to pick up some frames that fell from my dresser and picked up a photo of both my parents and me. We went out for a boat ride in downtown Miami, it was one of those tour boats that take you around to see celebrity homes. I was twelve years old and we looked so happy then. I wondered how far back their problems really went, if it was always screwed up between them.

I wasn’t sure when I started crying but it got harder to look at those familiar smiling faces once they were covered in teardrops. I wiped my eyes and finished cleaning up, not knowing if I felt more pain in my heart or my body. I hated her for doing this to me and I hated her even more because I still loved her.

I turned my bedroom light off and my purple lava lamp on and climbed under the covers. The warmth of my bed felt being kissed by the sun as I nestled into fetal position. My ribs and arms still hurt although the throbbing slowly began to fade. It was in that moment, under the safety of my sheets that I truly let go of the pain in my chest. Tears streamed across my nose and on to my pillow and I dug my face in as I let out a cry that didn’t seem like my own.

I cried so hard that my body shook and I wished it would just stop. I wanted to be freed from the pain that weighed so deep within me. How could someone be so cruel? And where was my father? My sweet, kind, and loving father who was supposed to protect me from times like these. I threw my hand over the side of my bed and felt the oversized stuffed cat he gave me and pulled it under the covers. I held it close to me in desperate need of protection. I closed my eyes and accepted that this was my life whether I wanted it or not. At least in my dreams I could escape this nightmare.

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing

Sober Lovin’

party-lights

My phone rang for the tenth time in the last five minutes and I didn’t need to read the caller ID to know it was Jenny. “Can you please let me get ready? What the hell do you wear to a Luau anyway?” I asked with more frustration as I looked around at my entire wardrobe thrown on my bedroom floor.

“Come on, Raven! Don’t be such a loser! This was the perfect party theme to get tons of hot bodies to my place! It’s summer and I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to swim with some hotties.” She said, giggling like a child in a candy store. I didn’t think I knew anyone more boy crazy than my best friend. I sighed and continued to rummage through the pile on my floor, tossing everything to the other side of the room.

“Jenn, I don’t have anything that’s Hawaiian. What the hell am I gonna do?” I asked, a little panicked now.

“Raven you’re hopeless, ya know that right?”

“Whatever, just tell me you have something I can borrow?”

“Alright, I’ll be right over.”

Twenty minutes later I opened my front door to find Jenny holding up a fuchsia colored strapless dress with black flowers.

“I love it!” I said, taking it from her hand and letting her in.

“You’re the best, Jenn!” I said, giving her a squeeze. I quickly slipped on the dress and was delighted to see how nicely it hugged my chest. The last thing I wanted to worry about was my boobs falling out.

“Well damn, Rave. You look hot!” Jenn said, passing me black sandals.

“Thanks.” I said, twirling in the dress.

“Uh, Jenn? Whose idea was it to have a Luau at night, anyway?” I asked, laughing.

“Texas heat is bad enough during the day, it’s tolerable at night and after lots of fruity drinks. So let’s get the hell out of here. I heard Mike was going to be there.” She nudged my shoulder and started heading towards the door. I sighed, grabbed my clutch and hoped I wouldn’t have to face Mike.

Jenn drove way too fast. The suburban homes flashed by while the music blasted in her Chevy SUV. I couldn’t help but think back to the last time I saw Mike. It was another one of Jenn’s legendary theme parties; only that time it was Lingerie. I remember settling for hip hugging jeans and a lacy bra.

I walked in to Jenn’s place and it was well after everyone had plenty to drink. There were guys dressed in silk robes, top hats, and bedroom slippers, all the while holding plastic chalices to the air, and surrounded by girls in their tiniest garments.

I figured I had to play catch up and walked past everyone and straight to the kitchen. I opted for three shots of Goldschlager and chased it down with an iced cold Budweiser.

I barely had anything to eat so the rush of the buzz was coming quickly and the music sounded sweeter than when I first walked in.

“Hey.” Said an unfamiliar voice. I turned around to find a tall tanned pretty boy smiling down at me. I recognized him right away. Mike Wilson, Nancy’s ex boyfriend and one of the hottest guys in town. He was always at every party and always had Nancy on his arm, except for that night.

Smiling, I said hello and handed him a shot of the golden-flaked liquor. He tossed it back and pulled me to the living room where half naked bodies were swaying left and right. The DJ was playing all the right songs and as Mike wrapped his hands around my waist, he pressed his body against mine as we moved in time with the music. The room seemed to spin with every move and I wished I hadn’t taken so many shots.

Mike pulled my long curls to the side and whispered in my ear. The music was so loud, I wasn’t sure what he said but I smiled anyway. He lead me passed the crowd, passed the kitchen, and finally stopped in front of one of the bedrooms. I was pretty dazed at that point but I knew what his mission was. He opened the door and kicked the couple already occupying the bed out of the room. Surprisingly enough, they gathered their clothes and left.

“Come on, beautiful.” He demanded. I said nothing when he threw me on to the bed and said nothing still when he locked the door and flicked the light off. I knew I shouldn’t have been there with him. I didn’t even know him. He obviously didn’t care about me. I wasn’t sure what emotion I felt more, lust or guilt? The guilt was pulsing through me but once Mike was above me, I no longer had control.

He kissed me hard with intent and wasted no time unbuttoning my jeans and peeling them off. I giggled and kissed him back, wrapping my bare legs around his waist, urging him to continue. The shame of giving myself to someone I barely knew slowly disappeared when I pulled him into me and lost all traces of my sensibility.

It ended as quickly as it began and before I knew it he pecked me on the forehead, pulled up his pants and left the room. Confused and embarrassed, I stumbled over to where my jeans were and jiggled them on. I bent down to find my shoes but I was too drunk and blinded by the darkness of the room. I walked over to the light switch and nearly screamed when I saw a guy passed out on the floor face down in puke.

Sobriety came quick and I just wanted to get out of there. I spotted my shoes by the dresser and bolted out of the room. I headed straight for the nearest bathroom. With my heels in one hand, I locked myself in and stared at my reflection. With tears running down my face, I could only utter one word, “Pathetic.”

“Hello! You okay?” Jenn asked, slapping my arm.

“Uh, yea. I’m good.” We were sitting on Jenn’s driveway.

“Are you sure? You look like you could really use a drink.”

“Yea, I guess I could.” I said, walking behind her, I tried to shake of the memory of the last time I saw Mike all those months ago. The room was colorful with plastic blown up palm trees and fishnets with seashells on the walls. Jenn really outdid herself with the decorations, I thought. I was looking up at the pineapple lanterns when I spotted six feet of gorgeous staring at me.

Looking around the room, positive this beautiful man was looking at someone else, there was no one behind me. I smiled at him and decided now was a good enough time as any to grab a drink.

“Hey, Rave. More people are arriving and heading out back to the pool. Do you want to come?” Asked Jenn.

“No thanks. I think I’ll just hang back and go say hi to Kevin.

“Yea, okay.” She said and walked outside.

I spotted Kevin by the table filled with fresh fruit and bite sized burgers.

“Hi Kev!” I nearly yelled over the music as I gave him a peck on the cheek and shook his boyfriends hand.”

“This is Taylor. Found him at the beach.” Kev winked with a sly smile.

I couldn’t help noticing that guy from before. He was now by the couch chatting up a couple of girls. A sting of jealously came over me as I wished to be one of those girls.

“You know Raven, you could go talk to him.” Said Kevin, giggling with Taylor.

“I don’t know. Who is he anyway?” I asked, eagerly.

“That’s Mark Wilson. He’s Mike Wilson’s twin brother.”

I nearly spit my heart out when I heard those words Mike in his face and I immediately wanted to leave.

“You okay, Rave? Feeling a little shy? Chuckled Kevin.

“No, I’m fine. Just need a drink. It was nice to see you again Kev and nice to meet you Taylor.” I rushed over to the kitchen, poured myself another drink and tossed it back. Out of all the guys here, why did I have to be attracted to Mike’s brother! His twin no less! Oh, the horror hit me and in low places.

I walked out to the front porch and sat on the white cushioned swing. There I sat, looking down at my cup and tossed the liquor out, vowing to myself that I would no longer let myself be consumed by drinking or by lust.

“Mind if I sit?” Asked a male voice. I sighed as I looked up into Mark’s kind face.

“Go ahead.” I said, walking back in to enjoy the rest of the party with a bottle of water at hand.

Author Note: Are you interested in what happens next? Let me know in the comments below! I will post a part two! xo

© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.