Status: Weekly Updates

A Day at a Time


The next morning Charlie awakes with a pang of subtle, lingering guilt that she can't quite shake off. She tries her best to ignore it, focusing on her mother and offering her a sweet goodbye before she makes her way home anticipating a long shift ahead of her. Coffee brews on the counter of her apartment as shakes her wet hair before tossing it up in a bun, the news plays quietly in the background and she can't stop herself from grabbing her phone.

She opens Snapchat and is met with quite a few videos of strangers on Gerald's story, completely wasted. Music plays loudly and she reaches quickly to turn the volume down. To the naked eye, it looks like your typical house party but Charlie knows better. She can see the cocaine laid out on a coffee table aside from where a man takes body shots off of the breast of an indecent woman. The last video is one of him and his friend, whom Charlie had met previously, stumbling along the streets of NYC spewing incomprehensible word vomit and ends with his friend vomiting on his own sneakers. Gerald cackles almost annoyingly in the background.

Part disappointed and part concerned Charlie continues with the debate in her head, does she check-in or dismiss him? Of course, Charlie is responsible and along with that comes the concern for her friend. Her friend? Maybe a loose term but the connection is obviously present and Charlie cannot seem to avoid him.

Her alarm buzzes in her hand, signaling her upcoming shift when she has just about made the decision to text and check-in. She tosses her phone in her pocket before grabbing her coffee and locking up.

Another week passes and this time there has been no word from Gerald, no text, midnight calls, snapchats. Charlie has been in between work and the hospice center, switching shifts visiting her mother with Melissa. It's four hours into her shift when she receives the dreaded call from Melissa. She cries hysterically into the phone and although she is trying to spit out words Charlie doesn't need her to speak to know what has happened.

The moment the word gets out at the hospital Charlie is sent home. She begrudgingly leaves, partially wanting to stay so she does not have to face the reality that awaits her at home but knows that working with patients could be potentially dangerous if her mind is elsewhere.

When she gets to her apartment Melissa is waiting in the hallway for her. She lifts her head and makes eye contact, quickly wiping the tears off her face and sniffling. She gives Charlie a small smile before sobbing again. Charlie engulfs her in a hug while Melissa sobs and hiccups into Charlie's shoulder. Growing up, Charlie was always the strong one, although she was the younger child. When Charlie was 10 years old their labrador retriever passed away, that situation ended similarly to this. It's not that she's not upset but there's still work to be done, now more than ever, making arrangements for their mother.

They make their way into Charlie's apartment and she brews a pot of coffee for the two of them. Melissa makes herself comfortable on the small sofa mumbling to Charlie or possibly just herself about all of the time she had wasted rather than spent with their mother and how ungrateful she had been.

Once the coffee is hot and in mugs, Charlie sits beside Melissa and pulls her feet under her, "Hey, we have to talk to mom's lawyer. Read her will and plan her funeral, yeah? I know it's tough but we have to pull through right now. For her."

Melissa nods, again wiping at her face as she grabs her mug. She takes a sip of the hot beverage and coughs, "That's the most disgusting thing I've ever drunk." She smiles sadly before grimacing and making her way to the sink where she pours out the beverage.

Charlie takes a sip fo hers and shrugs, "Hey, we don't all own cafe's alright."

"I was thinking," Melissa starts speaking as she takes her previous seat, "I think mom has in her will that she'd like to be cremated. Maybe we can just do a small service at the park or something. You know, save some money."

Charlie frowns as she swirls the coffee around the cup, staring blankly into it as if it'd have answers, "She deserves a funeral."

"I know."

"Let's not be rash," Charlie suggests, "We're meeting with the lawyer tomorrow, let's wait to make any decisions until then."

Melissa agrees and they get settled in Charlie's bed, watching late-night reruns of cartoons like they would when they were younger. Eventually, Melissa falls asleep and Charlie makes no effort to kick her out.

The following day, after meeting with their mother's attorney the service and cremation are planned. Charlie used the last or Gerald's money with the help of her mother's life insurance to pay for each.

Melissa had gone back to the cafe to check in on things since she had left so abruptly the other day. Charlie makes her way to meet Melissa at the cafe after stopping home to shower and change into something more comfortable. She walks down the sidewalk, pulling her cardigan tightly closed around her body as the wind blows down the valley of building. She bumps directly into a tall solid figure while watching her feet make way on the sidewalk. Unable to keep her balance, she falls clumsily onto the cement. She groans pulling herself back up before the stranger's hand reaches out for her arm, offering support.

"Are you alright?"

That's when Charlie looks up, focusing on the figure before her.

"Gerald," She breathes.