tomorrow you will see your mother drunk. it will not be the first time, but it is the first time you will understand that she is drunk.
she will be on the floor, vomiting tears from her eyes, breathing with a desperate urgency you’ve never seen, screaming. for you.
do not go to her. she will only hurt you: spit the bile from her mind into your mouth. you will believe all of it.
when the emergency room nurse picks up the phone instead of your mother it will make sense.
it is not your fault. it has nothing to do with you. she is a runaway child, you do not have to be her safe haven.
know this: she will be fine. take care of yourself before you worry about her.
when she comes home, do not go to her. she will only hurt you: middle finger wavering in the air like she is a twelve year old and you are her mother.
do not clean up her vomit this time. let her fix her own mess, sober, in the morning. do not go down to the basement and wash the blanket.
if you do, you will hear the whirrs of the washing machine and her words echoing in your head. the two will mix together until they are one melted mess rattling inside the washer: not enough, not enough, not enough, never enough.
when she says she will pick you up, do not wait for her. two and a half hours is too long. she will not show up.
do not call her fourteen times. do not call your father. he is in a meeting. your sister is at college. neither of them can help you.
you will be scared as you pass men who look like they could devour you in one bite, but you will survive. it’s only three miles.
when you get home, feet sore and heart racing, do not go to her. she will only hurt you: she knows where to throw the punches so they leave the biggest bruises. she has done this so often your heart is a mosaic. after all, she is still your mother and you are both running.
when you get home, do not kiss her.
buy chocolate chip pancakes from Big Daddy’s. to pay, use the money from her purse, the one she flung to the floor before she made it to her room.
remember: you don’t need her. she needs you.
next time she slurs her words on the phone at the bottom of the bathroom floor of a bar, do not go to her. pick yourself up off the floor and put on your favorite dress; the one that makes you feel like a beautiful, strong woman. feel beautiful by yourself. feel strong by yourself. she should not have to rip your scabs off to form her own. hurting others is not healing. take care of yourself first. do not let her hurt you this time. you are pregnant with strength, reclaiming your heart. this is healing.