I wrote this as a prompt from The Red Dress
Club. Write a short piece 600 words or
less beginning with This was absolutely
the last time and ending with She was
This was absolutely the last time I would pick her up. I tell myself this every time. My stomach knotted up the instant I saw her name come across my phone.
She was stranded at a drugstore in Atlanta. I don’t usually drive in Atlanta because it makes me nervous, so many one way streets and people standing on the street corners. Could I call her back and tell her I was lost and just not go this time?
My old 2002 Taurus was on its last leg but it was my only mode of transportation. After getting in I realized there was very little gas. Pumping gas for 3.98 a gallon put a sour taste in my mouth
knowing I was about to waste it driving to Atlanta to pick her up again. I thought about telling her she’d have to pay me for the gas but I knew my sister had already spent her entire, measly little paycheck.
Lina was standing by the doorway of the Eckerd’s smoking a cigarette when I pulled up. I waited in the car and thought she’d come get in but she just stood there in a daze. Getting out of the car frightened me, especially in this part of town, but I did. She offered me a cigarette which I happily took. Somehow a cigarette comforts me, calms the nerves.
“You know you didn’t have to come.”
“Then why did you call?”
“There’s nobody else.”
“What happened to Jared? Isn’t he still living with you?”
“He left me Tuesday. Said he couldn’t stay with me like this anymore.”
We stood outside the Eckerd until they locked the doors a few minutes later.
“You ready to go now. I have to get home and get ready for work.”
“I can’t go home. I can’t be alone. I don’t want to be like this anymore.” It sounded as if those words were choking her.
At that point Lina began sobbing. She sat down on the curb and put her face in her hands and cried like I’d never seen her cry. It was as if I was looking at a small, frail, lost child that didn’t know how to get home. Then she said something that broke my heart but gave me hope. “I need help with this. My life sucks. Everybody leaves me. Jared, Cindy, Mom, Dad, you.”
This was the first time she had admitted she needed help, that there was a problem. Until now.
She was so right, she desperately needed help. However I never left her, I was always, have always been there. Maybe not in a physical way because there came a time I had to give her tough love. But I have been with her every day, sometimes every minute, with my thoughts, my tears, my
love and my prayers. Waiting to hear those words. But to say I was one of those who had left her, well she was wrong.
This short story is fiction. I do not have a sister but if I did this would probably be the way I’d respond in this situation.