3:15 PM... The school bus will be pulling up any minute. The girls should be home soon…
Pacing back and forth behind her bedroom door, Kim began to panic. I’ve lost another day again… What am I going to tell them this time?
Just then the sounds of the front door opening were followed by Misty and Melissa’s voices in harmony, “Mommy we’re home!”
Glancing in the mirror, Kim could see the dark circles under her mascara smeared eyes. Her uncombed stringy hair lay flat against her gaunt, pimpled face. I can’t let them see me.
“Just slip your schoolwork under the door. Mama is feeling sick, again. I think I need to stay in bed.”
There was a moment of silence, then, “Okay mommy.”
Kim stepped back as the school papers slid under the door, into her dimly lit bedroom. Picking them up she placed them unread on her bureau, the only clean surface in her smoke filled room.
Almost as an afterthought Kim opened the door just a crack and said, “Misty, fix you and your sister a sandwich, then you can go out and play after you change your school clothes. Ya hear me?”
Standing with one ear pressed against her door, Kim waited for the sounds to disappear; first from her daughter’s bedroom, then from the kitchen, finally the footsteps running down the hall and out the back door. Only after she was sure the children were outside did Kim navigate her way past baskets of unfolded laundry, over piles of dirty clothes and bedding that had fallen to the floor. Carefully pulling aside the heavy brown drapes which hid her from the sunlight, she was then able to monitor the children’s activities without drawing attention to herself.
“It’s alright now” she whispered to her live-in boyfriend Lonnie, who had been sitting on his side of the bed. Moving to a chair beside the end table filled with empty beer cans and full ashtrays, Kim lifted her glass pipe, dropped a white crystal rock into the bowl, and brought it to her lips. Her drug dealer boyfriend struck the lighter that flickered to a flame, and held it under the pipe. Inhaling deeply, Kim felt the warm rush of adrenaline speed through her system and into her head. For a moment she closed her eyes, as the waves of euphoria enveloped her.
Her bedroom was ink black and deathly quiet. Kim bolted upright in her bed and threw the covers off of her. Where did these come from? I didn’t go to bed…
The volume from the television in the next room was barely audible. Thinking the girls were up past their bedtime she opened the door to peek out. They weren’t there.
Frightened now, Kim came out of her room and ran for her daughters bedroom. The girls weren’t there, either.
“Care for a cup?” the soothing voice behind her spoke. Spinning around she saw her brother Ron, holding what appeared to be a hot mug of freshly brewed coffee.
“Ronnie, what’s going on? Where are the girls?”
Grabbing her by the hand her brother led her to the couch where he sat and patted the cushion next to him.
“Sit, we have to talk.”
Kim didn’t have to guess. He knows…
“Sister Chris has the girls” he began. “Mom and dad are on the way here now and Pastor Bill should be here soon.”
Kim tried to protest but he held up his hand.
Tears streaming down his face he simply said, "don’t sis.”
Kim sat on the edge of the bed she had occupied for the last twenty eight days, staring at the picture they had taken of her the night she was admitted to Eternal Awakenings Recovery Center.
Tearing it in two she dropped it into the wastebasket. Opening the drawer, she grasped the Gideon’s bible, kissed it, and held it to her breast. Slipping from the bed, she fell to her knees and began to pray.
“Lord, please forgive me. I know I have sinned against you and I’ve hurt my family. Lord you are The Healer. I cannot do this alone. I need you Lord, and I trust you. From this day forward I vow that my old life has ended. Today, with your help, I start my new beginning. In Jesus mighty name… ”
Kim didn’t have to open her eyes to recognize the sounds of the giggling voices in her doorway….
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