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I remember that day when it all happened...


“Come on, Cora! It’ll be fun, I promise! And guess what? Roman will be there.” Linda added a mischievous tone to her last words, and I rolled my eyes. She was trying to convince me to go to the “popular” girls’ party. They were the girls at our high school that thought that they were princesses, and they had one big party each season. Normally I wouldn’t go, because I was the girl that just stuck to her little friend group and learned about space.

“Linda. It’s. Not. Happening. Kailey and Riley need me to take them to their soccer practice that night, and then I have to stay there and wait for them. And that ends at nine. Then I have to take them back home, and by then I’ll already be super tired. So I’m not going. And this is the first year that I’ve ever gotten invited, which means that they were probably forced to by somebody. So, why should I?” I had my phone on speaker sitting down on the counter while I chopped up some vegetables for dinner that night.

“Oh, whatever. They probably just finally realized how cool you are! Like, think about it. You’re going to go to NASA for a career. That’s big. You’ll be making way more money than them when you go, and think about how they’ll feel then. Just do it.” I slid all of the chopped up vegetables into a pan that was already heating up on the stove. Putting the knife in the sink, I searched for some sense in Linda’s nonsense.

“Look, just because I’m going to NASA doesn’t mean that I will make more money than them. They’ll probably be huge Hollywood movie stars and make tons of money from the movies that they do once a year. There is nothing true in your logic, Linda. I am not going and that’s final. T-T-Y-L.” I heard Linda sigh even through the phone and chuckled to just myself.

“Fine. But you’ll regret it. T-T-Y-L.” I hung up the phone and started doing the dishes while I waited for the vegetables to start simmering.


---


“So, what made you change your mind?” I was standing in front of my closet with Linda, trying to figure out an outfit for me to wear to the party.

“Linsie told me I need to go. That I need to go out more. I think it’s all stupid, but I know I would get in trouble if I back-talked to Linsie.” Linda held up a long, flowy, light pink dress and I nodded. She threw it onto my bed with all of the other dresses, jackets, pants, and shirts that she had already picked out.“Yeah, I get it. But I bet you’ll still have a great time. Like I said, there’s nothing bad. We’re just having little...appetizers I guess and some pop and punch. There’ll be a live band, and it’ll be just like a concert. But just for us, a group of high schoolers. Okay?” I nodded and pulled out a coral-orange colored crop top. Linda gave an approving nod with a smile on her face. I rolled my eyes and added it to the pile.

“What are you wearing again?” Linda clapped her hands and pulled out her phone from her back pocket.

“This! Isn’t it cool? I think that Patricia will definitely approve.” Linda showed me a picture of her in her outfit, and I raised my eyebrows.

“You’re seriously going to wear that? It looks like my great-great-great grandmother’s old dress. For real.” Linda laughed and swiped one picture over.

“Oops! Wrong one. This is it. That was when I tried on my great-grandmother’s old dress from the 1900’s or something. So you hit the nail on the head. Anyways, what do you think of it?” Linda shoved her phone into my hands and I rolled my eyes again before looking at it.

“Wow. You look beautiful. Wait. Isn’t that my dress?!” In the picture, Linda was dressed in a simple white dress with lace on the top and some black sandals. Her hair was curled, and pushed behind her shoulders.

“What? No, no, no. Maybe we accidentally got the same dress.” Linda laughed nervously and I immediately looked back in my closet, looking for that dress.

“It is my dress! I let you borrow it last year! I wanna wear it.” I put my hands on my hips and Linda nodded. She was a pretty easy-going person, and was always honest, even if she did seem like a wild child at first. “Alright. I’ll go home and grab it and then bring it back. Be back in a boo!” Linda gave me a quick hug and walked out of my room.

“Thank you! And I’ll help you find another outfit!” Linda gave me a thumbs up as she walked out the door.


---


“Linsie should get out of work in time to pick you up, but call me if you need anything, okay?” I twisted myself around in the driver’s seat to look at the twins (Kaylie and Rylie). 

“Thanks, Cora. See you tonight or tomorrow morning.” Rylie gave me a smile and I smiled back. She climbed out of the car, Kaylie following her. Once they closed the door and got onto the soccer field, I drove back home.

When I walked in, Linsie was immediately bombarding me with dresses, asking which one I asked best.

“Ithinkthatthisonewouldbeareallygoodcoloronyou. OH! OrmaybethisonebecauseIknowyoulikelongerdresses. Ormaybeeventhisonebecauseyou’regoingtoapartyandyouwannalookcool. Rightright!” I rolled my eyes and pushed past Linsie, finally getting out of the entryway.

“I already have a dress picked out. Actually, I’ve had it picked out since Thursday. Linda helped me.” As I walked to my bedroom to change into that dress, I heard Linsie sigh in defeat.

“Linsie?” I started walking back down the hallway. She was still standing in the middle of the mud room, so I joined her.

“I want to do something special with my hair...Will you help me?” Linsie looked up at me from her staring at the floor.

“Really?” I nodded. “Well, of course. Once you get changed I will.” I nodded again and walked to my room all the way this time. My immediate instinct was to flop down on my bed after my tiring day of school, but I knew that I had to change right away if I wanted time to be able to do my hair. So, I quickly changed into my white dress with the lace and looked in my full-length mirror.

“Nice.” The dress was just above my knees, the way I liked it if it wasn’t ankle-length. Approving the way it looked on me, I walked out of my room and into the bathroom. Linsie was already in there, grabbing everything she thought she would need to do my hair; which included every single hair product/supply in the bathroom.

“Linise? You didn’t need to get out that much stuff. I just want you to do a braid bun that looks like there aren’t any hair ties or anything. I can do it on other people, but not with my own hair.” Linsie finally stopped what she was doing and put almost everything away, except for a brush, bobby pins, hairspray, and a couple of other things she would need.

“Sit down right here.” Linsie patted a dining room chair that she positioned in front of the sink, and I listened. She stood behind me and started to do my hair.

“You know, I’m proud of you for not resisting me when I told you to go tonight.” Linsie looked up from my hair, just for a millisecond before looking back down, focusing on her work. I went back and forth, but I decided not to respond.

---


“Thanks for driving. I hate driving. Well, we’re best friends; you already know that.” Linda laughed her little giggle and I laughed along.

“No big deal. I don’t mind driving at all. It kind of relaxes me in a way.” I practically broke my brakes when the car in front of me turned onto a driveway suddenly. Both Linda and I were forced to lean forward, then were slammed back.

“Aaaagh! Stupid guy. No blinker or anything. Stupid, stupid, stupid.” (For hating driving, she knew a lot about it.) Linda readjusted her seat belt and I got the car going again.


---


“Come on, come on, come on!” Linda grabbed my hand and pulled me into the entryway that looked like the most expensive hotel in the world. 

“I’m really starting to regret this.” I tried to pull my hand free from Linda’s grasp, but she was hanging on tight. 

“It’s fine. Follow me, the party’s in the basement.” At that point, I wanted to say that I really didn’t have a choice, but I knew that would hurt Linda’s feelings so I didn’t.

Linda pulled me through a ginormous living room, dining room, and kitchen (I’m pretty sure we passed a ballroom on our way, too) until we came to a stop in front of a simple white door with a black handle.

“Are you ready for the best night of your life?” Linda smiled mischeviously to be responded with an eye roll from me; I don’t think Linda even saw it. She opened the door and I was greeted with loud music (it really was a live band) and lots of voices. Linda gestured for me to descend the elegant staircase, so I did. No one noticed me as I reached the bottom and waited for Linda. When she reached me, she grabbed my hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

“You’ll be fine. Just have fun.” I looked at her. “And the live band is Maroon 5.” And with that, Linda was gone chatting with some of her friends.

Maroon 5 was my favorite band, so I immediately wandered around the basement the size of a house until I found it. They were singing Memories, and everyone there was swaying back and forth, their arms waving back and forth. Trying not to bring attention to myself, I snuck into the group until I got to the front and was swaying back and forth with everyone else. I didn’t even try to hide my excitement.

“Now everyone join in on this part!” My excitement overwhelmed me, and seeing Adam Levine so close almost made me faint.

Toast to the ones here today! Toast to the ones that we lost on the way! ‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories! And the memories bring back, memories bring back you!” Everyone sang along with the band, and continued to sing until the song ended.


---

To the left! Take it back now, y’all! One hop this time! Right foot, let’s stomp! Left foot, let’s stomp! Cha-cha real smooth!”  Maroon 5 was playing a whole bunch of step dances off of their computer and they were blasting them out of the speakers. They would’ve been singing them, but they were doing them with us! Adam Levine was right next to me! I was in awe.

“Okay, everyone! Now that our dances are done, I have a surprise that no one except for me knows about! Well, and my brother that’s 21.” LeAnn (the one talking, and the hostess of the party) got a burst of laughter from that. I was standing next to a new friend that I had made (a girl my age, her name was Shelby). We were really similar and had similar backgrounds, so I don’t think either of us were ready for what happened. 

“Follow me over here!” LeAnn got off the stage, and everyone followed her to the very back of the basement where there was a fridge. She counted 1, 2, 3! and opened the fridge door.

“Who wants to try one?” The fridge was filled with beer.

About ninety-nine percent of the group went straight forward and grabbed a bottle. Only Shelby, two boys I didn’t know, and me. I didn’t see Linda in the gorup that went to the fridge, but she obviously wasn’t with the ones that hung back. And then there she was. Standing with a bottle in her hand next to LeAnn.

A bottle opener was being passed around, and at the moment that I saw Linda, she got the opener.

“Linda, NO!”


I sat on the top of the stairs, looking at my mom who was sitting in the kitchen at the dining room table with tens of empties around her and three that were full in her hands. I watched as she took another sip.

I had been sitting there for a couple of hours, just watching my mom drink. And drink. And drink.

I was six at the time, and knew how bad this was. But I also knew that I could do nothing about it. I heard people call her an “alcoholic”, whatever that meant. I just knew that she drank a lot, and that there was something wrong about it. But I wasn’t sure what, so how could I stop it? I had asked her once, but she had already had a couple drinks and didn’t answer.

She passed away that night. When the police found her the next morning, there were a total of fifty-three empty beer bottles around her on the dining room table. They found me sleeping on the stairs. We had her funeral a week later.


“Linda, NO!” Linda looked at me with a questioning look before taking her first drink. “Don’t be like my mom! DON’T! Please! Just don’t, Linda. Please don’t. Don’t. I know we’re in high school, but you don’t know what could happen after just that one.” I know she heard me, but she didn’t listen to me and took a drink. I left right away.

Linda passed away the next morning from alcohol consumption, just like my mom. I shouldn’t have left. If I was there, I would have been able to stop her. But I left. And it’s because I was scared of seeing it happen. When I could’ve prevented it.

I am forty-seven years old as I write this, and I have not tasted a single drop of alcohol.

July 23, 2020 18:12

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23 comments

15:16 Jul 25, 2020

This was great! I actually read it a couple days ago, forgot to comment, then stumbled upon it again a minute or two ago. Nice job! 😁😁😁 Would you mind checking out one of my stories? (I have 5, all from the past week.) Again, awesome work! -A

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03:48 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much, Aerin! Of course! Thanks again and stay healthy! -Brooke

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Jubilee Forbess
23:37 Jul 23, 2020

Oh, that escalated pretty quickly! I was kind of confused by the ages of the girls though; they seemed to be teenagers until the very last line. Maybe clarify this and make the points better? You're improving a lot in your writing already, but just keep listening to feedback like you always do. :)

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Batool Hussain
09:03 Jul 24, 2020

I agree with Rhondalise. I was confused by the ages too. Anyway this is a really good story. And Memories has to be my favorite song too. The ending, in my opinion, seemed kind of rushed and unexpected. Maybe try spreading some hints throughout your piece. It'll definitely have a better impact. Overall, a very good job. You are certainly improving. Keep writing;)))

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21:46 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you both so much! For the age question, this was forty-seven year old Cora writing about what happened when she was a teenager. I definitely understand where you guys are coming from! Thanks you again and stay healthy! :) -Brooke

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Batool Hussain
15:36 Jul 25, 2020

You're welcome! Thanks for clarifying;)

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03:47 Jul 26, 2020

:) Welcome!

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Mandy Baker
21:21 Jul 29, 2020

I think your story is very well written overall. I agree with some of the others that your transition was a bit abrupt. But, it was a surprising twist, which is good! I would double check your spelling and grammar, there were just one or two things I picked up on. Someone mentioned the alcohol consumption. Yes, they can die from it in one night, however, they would have to drink an extreme amount. It is very rare. I think you have a really good style though!

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13:36 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you so much! For the compliments and advice.

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Holly Pierce
19:32 Jul 28, 2020

This is what really good story. I'm not sure someone could die from alcohol consumption in one night (I think it might have be something they do constantly), but this story was very emotional and surprising. The twist at the end made me freeze for a second, you're a really good author!

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19:38 Jul 28, 2020

Aw, thanks so much, Holly! It means so much to me to hear that from you! You're probably right about the whole alcohol thing... 🤔

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Holly Pierce
19:52 Jul 28, 2020

I love reading your stories! I don't know anything about that stuff, so it's very likely I'm wrong. Your story is still amazing no matter what!

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20:47 Jul 28, 2020

Yeah, me either. Thank you so much, Holly!

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Holly Pierce
21:28 Jul 28, 2020

Of course!

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21:43 Jul 28, 2020

By the way, you're an amazing author as well!

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Jonathan Blaauw
13:38 Jul 27, 2020

Really good story – you have such a clear, simple way of writing. The way you describe your character chopping veges while talking on the phone sets the domestic scene nicely without being overdone. It’s got a playful, upbeat feeling which moves it along nicely. That makes the ending a surprise, but the transition is perhaps too abrupt. Next time maybe add some hints of what’s going to happen. Like, for example, if Cora had to constantly fight down memories of her mother throughout the story, that’d set it up nicely. Not to say what you’ve d...

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16:34 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much for the compliments and advice. I will definitely work on my foreshadowing in my future stories. 😂 I'm so glad I made you laugh! I had a feeling that some people would be uncertain about commenting (like you) if I didn't put that, because it's totally true! I want to know how I can make all of my stories better, and I want to hear everyone's take on my stories. Thank you again and stay healthy! -Brooke

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I was NOT expecting that. (okay, so I'm about to talk like the California girl I am) This is probably some sort of letter or diary entry, right? That would explain the "when I write this part". Next time you do something like this (or maybe this time, if you still can), you could add something at the beginning, like "Dear..." or even "I remember that day when...". Anyways, great job on the rest of the story, though maybe you could have done a call or a flashback of Linda in the hospital just to build up towards the end. -Peachy P.S. Do y...

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21:44 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback, Peachy! If I can, I will change that. Thanks again and stay healthy! Of course!

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21:48 Jul 24, 2020

I added a different first line; I hope it works!

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