It was the Summer of my discontent, I was 10, school had ended for the year, and I had begged my mother at least 2 weeks before, if I could attend the carnival that St. Andy’s was having today. It was actually St. Andrews, but I always thought it was a stuffy and snotty name, so I called it St. Andy’s.
For at least 2 weeks I had been looking forward to going, as it was always a good time. Lots of food and drinks, games, and oh yes, also the rides which I loved. Mum had said yes that she would go with me, so here I was, dressed and ready for some fun.
It was 11 AM when I went downstairs into the living room, and saw my mother passed out drunk on the couch. My hopes and dreams were once AGAIN dashed by the ravages of alcohol.
At first, I started to cry, but then I remembered that my Aunt Carol said she too was going. Quickly, I ran to the phone and called her. Explaining what had happened, she advised me that indeed I could go with her and my cousins.
I left a detailed note, got my jacket, and went to wait outside for my Aunt Carol. I could hear the roar of that old station wagon all the way down at the end of my driveway, as it slowly meandered around the corner to pick me up.
Always with a smile on her face, Aunt Carol welcomed me, and away we went to the carnival. As promised, we went on all the rides, lost some money on games, and ate till my stomach seemed like it would burst.
It was the best day, even if Mum couldn’t be there to enjoy it with us. After that experience, I KNEW I couldn’t count, on my mum for anything. I was the leader of the family now at ten years of age.
This day had become an awakening for me. I realized that my Mum had an illness, and that because of unfortunate circumstances, I was elected to be HER care giver. At times, we lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while she continued to drink herself into oblivion. Many nights I went to bed hungry, as Mum didn’t go out to buy food. It was always my Aunt Carol who would come over with groceries, cook the food, and while there, would see to it that Mum always went to bed clean. That woman was a Saint.
I knew from that tender age that I would NEVER end up like this ever again. Knowing that school was my best avenue out, I studied hard, learned as much as I could, and swore to myself that I would MAKE something of my life. Continued…