Stephanie, weary and worn out from her day’s work at the seaside restaurant, took off her sandals and sat down on the sand. She gazed at the sun and waited for it disappear completely beyond the horizon. Darkness set in. She sighed and left.
Meanwhile, in the four corners of their kitchen, Stephanie’s mother Brenda had smoked the last stick from the pack of cigarettes bought only an hour earlier. A bottle of whiskey was on the table and more than half of it was already consumed. She was slumped on the kitchen chair. She looked older by ten years and her hair fell to her shoulders in a mass of tangles.
Brenda has been like this since the death of Stephanie’s father Steve and that was three years ago. Now, Steph is already seventeen and since she got old enough to get a job, she was the one who earned extra money to add to her father’s pension. She was the one who had to earn a living for her mother and herself.
Stephanie trudged her way home, finding each step an ordeal. Her lovely face grew somber as she thought of coming home to a drunk mother, smelling of smoke from those filthy cigarettes. She almost couldn’t stand the sight of that anymore. Until now, she still couldn’t believe how her mother got to change this tremendously.
A woman as high-spirited as a summer’s day, Brenda was most unlikely to become the disheartening mess she is now. It was her father’s death that brought on this drastic change. Her mother stopped working right after the burial and all her energy and love for life waned. She became the woman Stephanie now sees every time she comes home from work.
Stephanie’s steps faltered and her eyes blurred with tears. After a moment of indecision, she fled away from the sight of their house and from her drunken mother.
Night passed and day came. Sunlight streamed through the windows of the kitchen. Stephanie’s mom woke up to the usual morning headaches. This was something she was accustomed to.
This certain morning though, there was no Steph to lovingly cool her forehead with a damp cloth. No steaming cup of coffee was set in front of her and no words of concern came down from her daughter’s lips. There were no love-filled eyes looking down at her with such anxiousness and care. Brenda suddenly realized that she missed all those familiar things.
A sense of loss stirred up inside her and she called out her daughter’s name. There was no answer. She got up and staggered to search from room to room, to no avail. She fell to her daughter’s bed and for the first time in three years, she was finally able to open her eyes.
The doorbell chimed. Brenda ran to open it, ready to ask for forgiveness, prepared to lay out all her realizations. But, there was no Stephanie there. Instead, a policeman stood, a bearer of grave news. After hearing what the man in uniform had to say, she hung her head low in shame. Then, she collapsed to tears of regret and grief.
That night, as Stephanie fled from their home, she ran straight to the beach. There, she cried her heart out. She just couldn’t bear the burden her mother is being to her anymore. It was getting to be too much.
She stared at the dark depths of the ocean and felt a force beckon her. She succumbed to its plea and calmly headed for the waves. She treaded into it deeper and deeper. As the last minutes of her life were about to pass, she whispered softly, “I forgive you for everything, Mom. Goodbye”.
P.S. Another micro-fiction I wrote in high school.