“Mom, Kylie won’t give me my phone back!!”
“Well you’re the one who took my iPod!”
“Oh my God, why are you such a-”
As I sit in the back of a mini van, cruising down a depressingly beautiful stretch of the Californian coastline, with a pounding headache, I realize that this is my life. I am so accustomed to hearing the constant arguing and resolving the petty issues that I now have the superpower of blocking out the noise. This trip was supposed to be a relaxing getaway, not a week full of hair pulling and screaming from my ever-so-inconsiderate cousins, aunt, and uncle.
No one seems to pay attention to the date except me. I try to forget, to be oblivious just like the rest of them. I have sneaked out of my hotel room to go to a local bar with my shitty fake ID card, custom made for trips like these. Today’s date date has been in the back of my mind for quite a long time, strangely torturing me, every time I am reminded of it.
It has been a year since the day Mom died. It never gets easier. Actually, it just gets worse, because I am forced to go on without her. I think about Mom all the time, even when the drugs and alcohol are supposed to make things better. She’s always here, just not physically, and that is the worst part of it all.
Mom wouldn’t necessarily be happy about the decisions I made last year. The constant partying, neglecting my college applications, treating my aunt, uncle, and cousins with disrespect, and other things. In the end, though, I think she would understand that I have just been trying to figure things out life. July 24, 2014 was the day I lost my mom, my best friend, an indispensable part of myself.
“Indie!” my aunt yelled from the passenger seat. I looked up, but she didn’t see and called my name again, this time even louder.
“Jesus Christ, what do you want?” I said over the the constant bickering of my cousins.
“Do not use the Lord’s name in vain, young lady”
“Why does it matter? I’m already in hell,” I managed to blurt loud enough for her to hear.
“Don’t call me that,” I snapped.
“Rosalind,” she started again, “Please take the phones away from Kylie and Amelia.”
I did what I was asked, trying not to get hit in the process. Then, I put my headphones on and turned up the volume, even though I knew it was already at max. I pulled out the ‘water bottle’ from my purse and gulped. It went down easier than usual, so I gulped some more. We have already spent three days in California and we still hadn’t managed to make it to the beach. Even now, as the ocean is practically below us, we can’t enjoy the water, we have to go to some weird history museum to please my uncle.
Not to mention, there’s always a schedule that is planned with the Andrew family.
8:38: eat breakfast, 9:12: pack lunch, 9:29: get in the car, 10:06 arrive at the museum. It is currently 9:58 and we would surely miss the museum at 10:06, which only added to the chaos. The Andrew Family worshipped the schedule like they the Holy Bible.
Although they were sisters, my mom and aunt were polar opposites. If I had been on this vacation with my mom, we would be spending every day on the beach, doing whatever we wanted to do. There would be no bickering or pointless deadlines to worry about. We would just enjoy each other’s presence in this little piece of paradise.
Despite Amelia being a 14-year-old, I dodged her shoe as it flew from the middle of the van. I looked up, trying not to scream, and noticed a group of guys over on the side of the road. They jumped all around, clapping each other on their bare backs. Then, after all the hype, one of them sprinted to the edge of the road and disappeared.
“Holy shit,” I muttered. “They’re cliff diving.”
“Mom, Indie just cussed!”, Kylie tattled.
I ignored her and try to think of a way for them to stop the car. “Stop the car! I’m going to puke,” I announced from the back seat. My stomach really was starting to turn from all the vodka, and I just know that my aunt and uncle would not appreciate the smell of vomit in the family van for the rest of the trip. It was a great excuse.
We pulled over and I didn’t even wait for the automatic doors to open completely. I sprinted ahead to where the cliff divers were, shedding my tank top in the process. “Hey,” I say, a little out of breath, “I want to jump.” I glanced back and saw the entire caravan running after me.
I ditched my phone as it fell on the ground and one guy explained the process to me. The only part I can hear over my family’s shrieks and my beating heart was that I needed to jump as far as possible. Someone would be down there to meet me.
“Indie stop!” my uncle commanded. It was too late, I already ran towards the edge. This was something Mom would have wanted me to do, I thought.
I leaped off of the cliff and for the first time in a year, I felt whole. The view was beautiful with different shades of blue surrounding me. The pain of July 24, the day that will haunt me for the rest of my life, seemed to fade away. All of the yelps of my family were silenced by the wind, by my blood pumping. In this moment, nothing else mattered. Freedom!
-Sydney Addison | Edited by Aditi Dhasmana