I looked down at my mom as she weakly looked back at me. Despite her strong urge to fight back her tears, her bright blue eyes were watery like the ocean. I reached my hand down and held tightly onto the right side of her pale face. I felt her slow breathing against my hand as I realized her breathing had almost come to a stop. The same few thoughts ran through my head like they always did: ‘I shouldn’t have asked her to go to the movies with my friends Saturday night. I shouldn’t have asked her for a ride. I shouldn’t have asked her to hurry up.’
On a regular Friday night in Michigan, I was listening to music when I heard a faint noise. I took off my headphones to hear my mom yelling, “Mackenzie!! Come down for dinner!!”
“Coming!” I responded as I jumped off my bed and sprinted downstairs. I was delighted to see that today’s dinner was tomato pasta and salad. I plopped down on my seat and started munching down my food. I had been starving. After about what seemed like an eternity, I decided to bring up the idea of me going to the movies with my friends. My parents were lenient most of the time about me going out but they specifically had told me not to do anything this week because finals were coming up. I tried not to go against their wishes but the movie I had been anticipating to come out had finally been released and I desperately wanted to watch it.
“I know you told me not to hang out-”
“But mommm,” I whined, “it’s the movie I was telling you about for the past few months and all my friends are going tomorrow!!”
“I said no,” she replied. I turned to my dad in the hopes of getting his approval but I knew he would agree with my mom. They were a team when making decisions. Some part of me always suspected that my dad was just afraid to go against my mom but I would never know.
“Dad, what do you think?” I asked hopefully.
“No, you heard what your mom said,” he said as he traced the edge of his plate with his fork.
“I HATE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!” I roared as I stomped up the stairs to my room. I slammed the door so hard that the shaking of the floor woke my cat up. I began pacing back and forth, steam coming out of my nose. I just wanted to punch something, anything. I slowly raised my fist and was about to punch the wall when I heard a knock at my door.
“GO AWAY! I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYONE!” I screamed.
“I just want to talk to you darling,” my mom whispered through the cracks of my door. I opened my mouth to yell at her again but no sound came out. I hate to admit it but it was very difficult to be upset at my mom. I swallowed my pride and turned the doorknob. My mom came into my room and took a seat on my bed.
“I’m sorry I was so harsh earlier,” my mom said, “I just want you to succeed and do well on your finals…”
“Okay mom,” I stated, “thanks I guess.”
“If I let you go to the movies tomorrow, do you promise me that you will study really hard when you get back?” she questioned.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” I exclaimed as I put my arms around her and squeezed her tight. Normally, my mom hates it when I give her hugs because unlike me, she doesn’t like to hug. But this time, she let me hug her for as long as I wanted.
“One more thing… could you drive me and my friends back home from the movies?” I asked shyly.
“Fine,” my mom said, “anything else I could help you with m’lady?”
“No, that’s it mom,” I giggled.
“That was the best movie ever!” I squealed.
“I know right!” Kate and Meredith squealed back.
We stepped out of Birmingham 8 and huddled together underneath the big, flashing sign. We kept checking our phones and looking up once in a while to see if my mom had arrived. After 30 minutes had passed, Kate turned to me and said, “Where’s your mom Kenzie? My parents want me home before 10 and it is almost 9:30”
“Let me text her,” I responded. She had told me the night before that she would pick us up by 9 and it was already 9:30. I was getting a little impatient at my mom. I texted her only to find out that she had not even left the house. She explained that she had lost track of time and that she would try to get there as soon as possible. ‘Excuses..’ I thought as I angrily typed on the keyboard of my phone telling her to hurry up. I blamed her for making me feel responsible for my friends who were about to get home late.
Another 30 minutes went by when I got a phone call from my dad. His voice was shaking as he told me the surprising news. I gasped and dropped my phone. I could not believe what I had just heard. I slapped myself multiple times until my skin turned red. My friends tugged at my hand to prevent me from hurting myself as they questioned what was wrong. ‘I am a horrible person,’ I thought, ‘this is all my fault.’ The last thing I remember from that night is everything going pitch black and hearing a loud thud.
The spinning of the ceiling fan greeted me. There were so many faces looking down at me.
“What happened?” I asked confused.
“You fainted after getting a phone call,” Meredith answered. This suddenly sparked a memory: my mom.
“WHERE IS MY MOM?!!” I screamed at them, frantically looking around me. Everybody stared at me like I was a lost puppy. When I demanded an answer, my dad gently grabbed my hand and told me that she had gotten into a car accident. He explained that she had been T-boned by another vehicle and the force caused her to break a rib, causing it to tear her lung deeply enough to seep air into the chest cavity, putting painful pressure on her body. I asked my dad if I could see her and he led me to her hospital bed. When I walked in, she was fast asleep. I felt a pang of guilt in my chest. I stood there frozen while wishing I could turn back time and make everything right again.
Everyday after school, I visited my mom. I would always sit down on the brown couch and talk to her for hours about what I did that day. My mom could not respond but I knew she loved to hear me speak because her face would brighten up when I talked. The doctors informed me and my dad that she had two more weeks to live. This news heavily affected us but we tried to make the best of it by visiting her the most that we could. When the time for her death came close, my dad and I never left her side. I think my mom also knew that her death was near the corner. I looked into my mom’s watering eyes and grabbed tightly onto the right side of her face. I kept my hand there, feeling her slow breathing against my hand until it eventually stopped. If only I had a time machine...