Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror

Sharon tumbled over the edge of the couch, twisting her ankle until a snap was heard as well as felt. She had consumed enough alcohol so the break was hardly noticeable. Grabbing the phone, she dialed 911.
“Hullo? This 911?”
Sharon’s words slurred as she giggled at the operator, then belched.
“Yeah. I think I broke my ankle. Can’t get up.”
Sharon let the phone drop as she passed out. When she woke up, she was in the emergency room of the local hospital and a young doctor was flashing a light in her eyes. She batted it away.
“Too bright!”
He frowned. “How long have you been going on these binges?”
“None ‘o your business.”
“I’m Dr. Hayden. If you choose to drink yourself to death, that’s your business. But when you cause yourself injury and end up here, then it’s my business.”
Sharon struggled to get up. “I’m outta here!”
“Sorry, but you’re staying.”
He pushed her back down and rang for the orderlies.
“I’m placing you on a police hold until we get this sorted out.”
“You can’t do that!”
“I can and I have. Right now you’re going to the secure ward, where you’ll have a cold shower.”
Dr. Hayden turned and walked away, leaving Sharon aghast at her fate. She no longer needed a cold shower to sober up, she’d been dumped on by this young doctor and she could still feel the sting. Wait until my daughter hears about this. She’ll give him an earful.
But Sharon’s daughter wasn’t as compassionate as she’d expected her to be. When Sharon got her on the phone, she listened politely, and then gave her answer.
“No, mother, I can’t help you this time.”
“Annalese, you have to come down here and talk to these people. They are holding me against my will!”
Annalese sighed. “Maybe something good will come out of a few days in the hospital.”
“Sorry, gotta go. Call me when you’ve got this settled.”
Feeling lost and forgotten, Sharon wandered the halls of the locked ward on her crutches. A nurse came up to her and informed her of a group therapy session she was supposed to attend. She growled and reluctantly attended, determined to listen only.
“Hello, Sharon. I’m Stan and I’m leading group therapy today. What brings you to the hospital?”
Sharon was about to bark out her famous words that it was none of anybody’s business, but one look around this pathetic group told her these people were hurting too. She cleared her throat.
“I’m a binge drinker.”
“Do you want to quit?”
“Of course I want to quit! Do you think I’m crazy or something?”
“You must be, or you wouldn’t be doing this to yourself.”
Again, it was like someone pouring ice water over her head. She really did want to quit, but had never talked to anyone before who challenged her. Who held a mirror up to her and dared her to look. Her family was understandably tired of the whole mess, so now she needed to stand up on her own two feet. If she could make a go of it on her own, maybe her family would come to see her as their mother again and not just a liability. She had to try.
“Tell me what I have to do.”

I hope you enjoyed this flash fiction. It is the first in a new style of writing for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. To me, the most powerful sentence was:
    “You must be, or you wouldn’t be doing this to yourself.”

    Talk about cuttin' to the chase! Wow.

    1. Rettakat: Thanks! I'm learning to be concise.

  2. I liked this, went straight to the problem and how she needs to sort it out. Well done.

    1. Heather: Thank you. I find it difficult to squash it all together in a short piece. I want to add more, but it just gets in the way. This is a revealing style.