Now we're standing at the end of our driveway, Matrix and I. I can hardly believe we spent an entire day at Leroy Park. The sun is setting behind us, and our house looms before us, the grey paint and lengething shadows causing goosebumps to crawl up and down my arms. So many memories...
"Marley! Are you coming?" Matrix calls out.
It's only then that I realize Matrix is already halfway up the driveway. I jog to catch up with him, and together, we approach our enemy.
Today, the house greets us with silence. The blinds are drawn; the room is dark.
"Mom?" Matrix whispers to the dead air. "Dad?"
Something's wrong, he and I both know it. I feel my heart drop to my butterfly-filled stomach, and there it stays. Fluttering. Not beating. Just fluttering.
The both of us just kind of stand there for a moment, as if the shadows will somehow whisper the answer to us. But there is nothing. Finally, Matrix flips on a light switch, making me jump.
"Mom?" he calls out again. "Dad?"
Then I spot the note taped to the refridgerator door. Written crudely on the back of a receipt, it has to be my dad's.
MATRIX AND MADISON:
WENT BACK TO WORK FOR EVENING MEETING. PLEASE MAKE DINNER AND CLEAN THE HOUSE. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOM.
Matrix and I glance at each other. His gaze is serious. Mine, on the other hand, is fearful.
"Matrix..." I whisper. My tone is low, almost as if I might awaken a great, sleeping beast by speaking louder. "He left us home alone with..."
It's like a scene from a horror movie, and I guess that's really where it belongs: in some scary movie. Not here, in real life. As Matrix and I turn around, I can almost feel the air grow heavier. And there she stands, wobbling and tripping all over herself. To many, seeing a drunk person is comedy. To me, it's like looking at death. And I know, better than most, just how dangerous a drunk really is.
My mom stagger towards us, and Matrix steps boldly in front of me, acting as a shield. His eyes hold the intensity of blizzard ice, and I'm grateful for his protection. But everyone knows what happens next. We spiral down, down, down into oblivion... and me screaming... and Matrix just taking it all... and when he just can't take another hit, no, not one more... he falls. And I'm screaming all over again... and my mom is moving faster, faster, faster, her hands a blur, my body burning, and soon I fall inside myself, where her harsh words are only pretty sounds in the air, where nothing can touch me and everything does.