This story is by Tom Davis and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“John my engagement ring is missing. Have you seen it?”
“No honey I haven’t seen it.”
“You don’t think, God forbid, Billy would have taken it do you?”
“Nah Billy would never do such a thing.”
Billy was their only child and his parents were worried about his drug problem. They noticed a few things around the house like his mother’s favorite broach that went missing and suspect he is taking and selling things to support his habit.
“Where is Billy anyway?” his mother asked
“I don’t know. I don’t think he came home last night.”
They hear the front door open and close and Mrs. Berman yells from the kitchen “Billy is that you?”
“Yeah Mom it’s me.” as he heads towards the kitchen. His eyes had a glassy tint to them and his hair looked oily and greasy like it hadn’t been washed in days.
His mother raises her voice “Billy did you take my engagement ring?”
“No Mom why do you think I would do that?”
“Because you have stolen before from people to support your habit. Remember your father and me bailing you out of jail for robbery a couple of years ago? I don’t know what we are gonna do with you.”
“Mom I changed I promise.” Billy said
Mrs. Berman had a look on her face that she doubted very much he changed. His Dad walked over to him and gave him a hug and told him they believe in him. Billy heads upstairs to crash in his room.
“John why do you always do that and let him off the hook?”
“Because Marsha he is our only child and I believe we have an obligation to love and protect him.”
Billy’s parents are beginning to get suspicious that their son is using again and want him to go back into rehab. The last attempt to put Billy into rehab did not go as planned. They checked him into a beautiful facility equipped with the best resources and took out a second mortgage to pay for it. It was going good for a couple of weeks until Billy escaped from the place and went on a week-long bender.
His mother was furious and wanted to kick him out of the house but it was his father who talked her out of it. The mother was fed up at this point and has had enough. The father was always forgiving his mistakes and willing to give him chances.
“That’s it Billy you have to find another place to live. Your father and I can’t keep bailing you out.”
“But Mom where would I go? I’m trying to get clean. I promise but it is hard.”
“Yeah Billy we have heard that before. We don’t believe you. Therefore you have to go.”
“Honey let’s not do anything rash before we give him another chance.”
“John he has had enough chances. We have taken out a second mortgage on our house, bailed him out of prison and caught him stealing money out of my purse. How many more chances are we going to give him?”
Mrs. Berman storms off upstairs while giving her husband the look of death.
“Don’t worry son I will talk to her and calm her down.”
“I am trying to get clean Dad I swear.”
“I believe you Billy.”
The next couple of weeks things have settled down and Billy seemed to be doing well with his battle doing drugs. Then just like in days past Billy disappears for a few days and the parents know what that means.
After Billy resurfaces back at his parents’ place the father is home alone.
“Where have you been Billy? Your mother and I have been worried sick.”
“Uuuumm I went to go visit a friend of mine.”
“Stop lying to us Billy. We know you went to go use again. We aren’t stupid.”
Billy stands in the doorway looking down at the floor with his hands in his pockets and does not respond.
“This is the final straw. We have given you chance after chance to change and you have done nothing but disappoint us. You have to find another place to live and you have to do it by the end of the week.”
“Don’t but Dad me Billy. Our decision is final.” as his father leaves the kitchen with tears in his eyes.
Billy stands there stunned and speechless like someone just punched him in the heart. This was the final straw and he knew it. He would have to get serious and do whatever it took to get off drugs.
He marches back to his room to pack a bag. Billy calls one of his friends and asks him if he could crash on his couch for a few days until he could figure out his next move.
The next morning around 11 Billy gets a phone call from an unknown number and lets it go to voicemail. He listens to the message and his eyes start filling up with tears. He asks his buddy if he could borrow his car but won’t tell him what is wrong.
Driving like a madman he arrives at his destination to verify what he was told over the phone. His parents were in a car accident and neither of them made it out alive.
Billy is in a state of haze, denial and disbelief as he keeps repeating “This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.”
After the funeral Billy does not know what to do with himself and slips into a funk for a couple of weeks. Friends and family that live nearby stop in to check on him and many of them believe he will slip back into his old habit of using drugs. They take turns checking on him knowing this could possibly push him over the edge.
A month after his parents died Billy checks himself into a free clinic and stays until he kicks his habit and his urges for drugs are gone. He stays on to help with little chores like cleaning, cooking and anything else the clinic may need. He does this for no money and goes back to school to learn to be a drug counselor.
A year later he is going strong and is a licensed counselor helping others kick the same habit that caused irreparable damage to his relationship with his parents.
One morning a girl came in off the streets and Billy had a strange feeling about her. He could not put his finger on it but she reminded him of someone. She sits in the seat and they begin small talk as Billy asks her name.
“My name is Marsha and I need help getting clean. I am getting married next week to my boyfriend John.”
Billy’s heart stopped and could not believe what he was hearing. It was like a sign form above that she was delivered to him and looked up toward heaven and smiled. Redemption was his.