Something happened at school. Maybe somebody saw her take a swig off her bottle or maybe she came to school drunk. I wasn’t privy to the details, but Dad had had a long phone conversation with Donna’s friend and fellow teacher about something that happened at school. Soon after that, my stepmother went away for two weeks to some Serenity “retreat” at the coast. It was all very hush-hush.
When I found her vodka bottle in the linen closet, I poured out the booze, put water in its place and put the bottle back. It was devious fun, getting back at her a little bit. What’s she going to do; tell Dad?
When I found her Ripple stash I snuck it out to my own hiding place in the garage where, later, my friend Cheri and I smoked stolen Salems and tried to get drunk. We couldn’t even swallow the stuff without spewing. It was hard to understand how anybody could become an alcoholic.
After Serenity, Donna didn’t get better. She totaled the Buick. After the Buick, she wrecked the van; drove it drunk, into the gully where Oatfield curves. Donna was dead by the time Dad got to the hospital on the only vehicle left: her bicycle.
That was the saddest part, for me: imagining Dad on the ladies three-speed, out of breath, sick with worry, struggling to get up Mason hill, arriving too late.
I told Dad I was sorry I hadn’t been nicer. He assured me it wasn’t my fault. It was nobody’s fault.
We were doomed, she and I. How could it not go bad between a sulky, smart mouth, C average, teen-ager and an alcoholic, school teacher, stepmother?
It’s a shame. We looked like a perfect family in 1966, when they got married, before we learned about alcoholism.
Daily PromptTell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
via Teacher's Pet.