Bad Habits

I opened my eyes after a deep sleep. Mother was sitting in a chair next to the window looking outside. Two days ago, she had gotten into a fight with my dad and, feeling frustrated, she threw some stuff in an old suitcase, took me by the hand and we left. And there I was in that horrible house, in the middle of nowhere. I never liked it there, kids were snobbish and the sea was dirty.
-“Wake up, we’re leaving.”
Well, thank God, I thought. I am bored here, I wanna go home.
We did not talk to each other on our way home. I tried talking to her, but she was not in the mood. Arriving home, my father was waiting for us. They looked at each other, but did not utter a word. When we got inside the house, mother sat on the couch, breathed out and told me to sit next to her.
-“Tania does not live anymore.”
I stayed deadpan, looking at her like she had not spoken at all. No reaction, just an empty face. What did that mean? Was she dead? What was a dead person like? How did he look like? So, I won’t see her again, is that what she was trying to say?
-“Do not tell the kids, John is going to do so.”
And now? What should I do? How should I feel? No one was talking to me, they all ignored me. Being pissed off, I opened the door and run to the courtyard to find my friends. There, I found Tom. He was kicking a ball against the wall with great persistence. I was wondering whether I should tell him or not. I really wanted to discuss it with someone, maybe he could explain to me what had happened. He would have heard about it for sure. Mother had said i should not tell anyone.
-“Do you know what happened?”
Thank God he asked. That was a relief, now we could talk about it without me bringing it up. It was him that had asked.
-“They say she died in her sleep but I do not believe them. Everybody knows that she loved drinking. My mom says that bad habits kill people.”
Loved? Why not loves? Why was he talking like the others? A few days ago, we were all together watching TV. We were eating that weird cheese pie she often made. She always served it with a little bit of yogurt to cool down the spiciness of the pie. I could not listen to him anymore, so I went back to my house. Going up, I bumped into my mother who had just locked our appartment door.
-“I am going upstairs, come with me.”
We took the elevator, reached their appartment and knocked on the door. Grandma Milanka opened the door. I smiled at her and she smiled back, but there was something strange about her smile, it was not her usual one.
-“Come in. The kids are inside with John.”
The house looked really different. No one had opened the shutters, it was extremely dark. There was a bunch of papers on the floor. I picked one of them up and started reading it. It was in Serbian, I did not understand anything. I asked grandma Milanka to read it for me, but she did not even hear me. Oh, even she was ignoring me now.
Then, the bedroom door opened. The kids got out screaming. They ran straight into grandma Milanka’s feet. Their faces had taken on an expression of terror, they were screaming. A bizarre fear was depicted in their eyes.
It was then when i started realising what had happened. I thought of Tania, lying on her bed, staring at the walls with an empty look on her face, the way i’d seen her so many times. Yes, indeed she was sad. I thought of her, bringing the bottle up to her lips, drinking and drinking. I would never see her again. How would life be without her?

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