#14 A Broken Lily

by Kayla Matheney

Lily took a gulp of the whiskey, not reacting to the burn that she could no longer feel. She begged the automated machine on the other end of the phone line to say the numbers she needed to hear. She needed money. She was close to the end of her last bottle, and she knew that she wouldn’t be able to go without. The thought of doing so scraped, painfully, around the inside of her inflamed stomach.

The robotic voice distantly announced that the total available funds amounted to a hundred and twenty-four dollars and fifty-eight cents. The money had come through.

“Thank you . . .” Lily whispered in relief, to nobody in particular.

Lily tipsily made her way down the block to the liquor store on the corner and bought three bottles of their cheapest whiskey.

Lily carried the heavy glass bottles home, trying not to let them clank too much. As soon as she stepped into her apartment, her feet were bare and the first bottle was opened. Three bottles of whiskey later, her daughter walked in, tired after a long day at school.

“Mom?” Meredith called out, to the seemingly empty apartment.

Meredith turned the corner, and there, on the bathroom floor, laid her mother, barely conscious, in a puddle of vomit.

Meredith gasped and bent down, next to her drunken mother.

“Sweetie, I’m sorry . . . I’m broken . . . but I’ll get help . . .” Lily whispered, beginning to choke on the rising flood of burning vomit.

Meredith had heard those words before. She cried.


Connie J Jasperson said...

Awesome Zephyr!

Jade said...

A complete and painful portrait, Kayla.

Sam Knight said...

Ouch! Nice job bringing the ugly out and making us see it, after already making us accept it without thinking about it.

Rachel Green said...

Painful, but so well observed.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love the juxtaposition of the two POVs. Feeling the need and pain, then feeling her daughter's emotional pain. Well done.