The Special Orange Juice
I only recently discovered Jamie through her submission to The Sisterwives. What I found was a lovely, funny, twenty-something writer who writes both wit and depth with ease. As someone who grew up in an interesting household (not alcoholic, but strange nonetheless), I related with the following story that Jamie sent us. Sometimes the strangest things cause deeper reflection.
Without further ado, the lovely Jamie. -Laurie
I peered up at her from the kitchen table. She was vigorousy whisking eggs with a look of determination. I could already smell the bacon. I loved when she made me breakfast. Mornings with her were the best times with her. It was still peaceful and quiet. It was just us.
Maybe today will be a good day, I thought. I liked her most on the good days. She was nice and had less pain in her eyes. Sometimes she would smile and it made me feel warm. It made me feel like we were a normal, happy family.
I heard footsteps coming in our direction and I knew we were no longer alone. My father walked into the kitchen and sat my three-year-old brother down beside me. I looked up at her and saw sadness draw upon her face. My mother’s carefree demeanor never lasted long. At only 9am it was already gone, soon to be a distant memory of mine. Her smiles were already few and far beetween and I dreaded the day they’d vanish competely.
My father approached her and delivered a forced kiss on the cheek. She drew away and continued scrambling the eggs.
“Whatever. I’m going out.” he announced.
“It’s not even 10am and it’s a Sunday. Where are you going? Why don’t you spend some time with your goddamn children?!”
He left the room and I watched her forcefully open the fridge. She grabbed the orange juice, poured it into a glass, and mixed in her medicine that she kept hidden under the sink. She called it her special orange juice and told my brother and I we weren’t allowed to tell daddy about it. I don’t know why because daddy already knew. She used to keep it hidden under my bed. I’d wake up in middle of the night and she’d be drinking from the bottle. I told her it scared me so she started keeping it under the sink, behind the windex and rags.
She quickly drank the entire glass and poured another. My father walked in and she froze.
“You wonder why I’m never here? Why would I want to be with you while you’re drunk all day with our kids?” he yelled.
“I drink because of you! You made me this way! Please don’t go!”
“Pour yourself another precious glass. I’ll be back when I damn well feel like it.”
He hugged my brother and I before leaving. I hoped he’d never come back yet I missed him already. He would often leave for days at a time. My mother would drink even more special orange juice then.
The door slammed shut. He was gone. My mother placed breakfast in front of my brother and I, clutched her medicine out from under the sink, and took it upsairs with her. I was wrong. It was not going to be a good day.
Today I’m 28 years old. My loving husband treats me to brunch at our favorite nearby restaraunt. He must have already told the waitress that it’s my birthday because she brings out a blueberry muffin with a candle in it and orange juice. I excitedly take a sip of the juice and taste it. My mother’s medicine. The medicine that finally killed her two years ago.
“I’m sorry, I thought you’d like a screwdriver to celebrate.” my husband said with a look of concern.
“No, it’s fine. Thank you.”
I take in each sip and feel the vodka warm my insides. It doesn’t bring me comfort like it brought my mother. I have a good life and enough support from my husband to last a thousand years. I wish she’d had the same.
I finish my own special orange juice and become overwhelmed with emotion. I won’t be like her. I won’t follow in her footsteps. We pay the check and leave. I feel at peace and move on.
I enjoy writing about the little things in life and bringing out the humorous, awkward, and inappropriate side of everyday situations. I am inspired by strong women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and compete with the boys.
Mostly I’m funny, sometimes serious.
You can find more of my writing at fitsofwit.com.