#200 Not This Time

by Irene Roth Luvaul

The phone jangled Amanda awake. She fumbled for the phone, knocking a glass of water off the night stand, hearing glass shatter. The clock glowed 3:30 a.m. Raising the phone to her ear, she mumbled, “’Lo?”

“Get me out of here,” slurred Jennifer, Amanda’s 17 year old daughter.

“Where are you?” Amanda already knew where Jenn was. In jail again. Drunk again.

Amanda leaned back, sighing. Jenn had been in rehab three times, promising to go to AA meetings. Amanda had begged her to go, had even gone herself sometimes to listen, hearing the hope in the voices. But Jennifer attended only when Amanda insisted. As she held the phone in her lap, some words from those meetings echoed in her mind: “...had to hit bottom.” “...kept drinking until I hit bottom.” “...kept bailing me out of jail.” “...couldn’t hit bottom till they stopped helping.”

She wondered when Jenn would hit bottom. Was Amanda’s help not really helping? Better to leave her in jail? Suffer the consequences? Find the bottom?

“Mom, you there?” Jennifer’s words brought Amanda back.

“Yes, Jenn, I’m here.”

“Get off the damn phone and come get me.”

“No, Jenn, I don’t think so, honey. Not this time. I love you, but not this time.” Amanda calmly set the phone back on the night stand, making a mental note to pick up the glass in the morning before she stepped on it. She lay back down and tried to sleep.