A day in the life of Zoe

A day in the life of Zoe

A Story by JanieB

The taboo of it all...


“Mum, it’s 11 o’clock in the morning, what on earth are you doing?” I said, as I snatched her mug out of my Mothers’ hand. In absolute disgust, I took the mug, and marched to the bathroom and chucked the contents down the sink.  The stench was overwhelming, I felt sick, really sick. “Mum, what are you doing?” I screamed.  I was fed up of continually being there to pick up the pieces. My mother stood at the top of the stairs, leaning over the banister. The look was that of sheer shock I had caught her again.

I brushed past her, and hurried down the wooden stairs. Every step seemed like it was getting louder, and louder. I was scared she would come after me, scared of how she might react to my doings. As I got to the bottom, I turned round to see my Mother staring at me with a vacant expression. This made me feel even angrier. Angry because no matter what I said and how many times I asked her to stop, she still carried on. The tears started welling up inside me. Does she know the pain I’m going through, I thought. Does she know what this is doing to me? I feel hurt, hurt that she won’t stop, even for me. She told me she loved me, so why did she carry on? Why?

I quickly walked through the hallway, where photographs lay prominently of us all as a family. For all and sundry to see when they entered the house, made us look like a happy and normal family. A family that had it all. My father had a good job, manager of an airline. I was really proud of him. My brother Sam ,and little sister Jessica, we were all in the photographs, smiling for the camera. If only they knew what really happened in this house, my so called home.

I entered the large kitchen, like something out of a house and home magazine. Perfect, it was. I flew around the kitchen like a girl possessed, throwing pans, plates and all matter of crockery and cutlery out into the large open space in the middle of the floor. Behind the fridge, nothing..behind the oven, nothing. Where is it? I wondered. I want to save my mother from what she’s doing to herself. I feel it’s my job. I have to find it.

The feeling of intense anger was building up inside me now, like a volcano ready to erupt. I ran outside, and flung open the garage door. The washing machine, I thought. I teamed the freshly washed clothes out of the machine and threw them into the laundry basket. For a second the overwhelming smell of the fresh laundry took me back to happy times, when I would help my Mother do the chores around our home. Home? What home? I thought . Feels like a prison camp, feels like I will never be able to escape. Escape from the truth, and live a normal life. A life like my best friend had. Oh, how I envied Georgina. My wonderful friend Georgina, she meant the world to me. Georgina had it good, her mother was so dependable, so normal, so sober. Being with Georgina took me away from all this, all these lies and secrets. I need to see her today, I thought. Please take me away from this pain, take me away, away from this life. Please.. I can’t keep these lies to myself anymore. My mother was drunk everyday, didn’t matter what time of day or night it was lately. My father was at work oblivious to what I had to deal with. The secret stashes of all kinds of alcohol, hidden in the obscure of places. The amount of times I threw drink down the sink was uncountable.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sudden presence of my Mother. She stood tall, hovering over me. I was scared now, the look of anger in my Mothers eyes, burrowing into mine. I began to slowly stand up. I lent over to the laundry basket and picked it up. “I’m just going to hang this out for you Mum” I said gingerly, my lips started trembling, and I had pains in my stomach, like someone had kicked me hard. I felt sick again. I’m going to through up, I thought. She smells of cigarettes and alcohol. Oh, but the smell was almost indescribable. Like an ashtray that had been filled to the brim, overflowing with those awful cigarettes she would smoke. At least 40 a day, heck, every time I looked at her she had one hanging out of her mouth. F*g Ash Lil, I would call her, not to her face of course. I would have been sent to my room for that, and a sharp and very hard slap from my father to boot. Funny really, if it wasn’t my mother. The stench of that combined with stale and fresh alcohol was revolting. Smelt like when you walk into a pub when they just opened the doors from the night before. Boy, almost knocks you over. Stale cigarettes and booze, yuk!  My stomach started churning like a cement mixer. My mother always said, now Zoë when you have a drink, always carry mints in your bag. Nobody can smell the white spirits, gin and vodka is what she told me were good to drink. She said to me once, it looks like water and doesn’t smell. Yes, well that wasn’t true, was it?

I crept past my mother, and slowly walked down the long garden, laden with the laundry. I began methodically hanging the washing along the line, just as my Mother had taught me. Best get it right, I thought. Best get it right. If I don’t there will be a price to pay.  When my mother drinks like this, it’s like living in a different world, and not a very nice one at that. I just want our nice life to come back. The aroma from the laundry took me away for a few seconds, and I thought of the great chats we used to have about so many things. We would talk about the experiences we had living abroad, and how much we both had such amazing times. We would laugh until tears were rolling down our faces, we sometimes would cry a little too, that was okay my mother said. It’s okay to cry. Dad didn’t like me crying. I cried a lot really. Cried about anything and everything. I cried because I was so unhappy with this life I was living, I cried because I wanted someone to help, help me, and predominately help my mother.

I thought about the walks my mother and I used to go on together with Cindy. Oh, Cindy, if that dog could talk, my goodness she would have some stories to tell. I started to laugh at the thought of it really. I loved that dog, our beautiful golden Labrador. She was my friend, I could tell her anything, and I did. I can’t wait to go for another walk this afternoon with her, just us, in the fields. Cindy would bound around through the tall grass, looking like a kangaroo, as her lovely little face would appear through the blades of summery grass. I loved to see her look so happy and free. Wish I could feel like that. That’s why I want to go for a walk I thought, yes, that’s why, to feel free. I know it’s only a temporary feeling, but it feels like heaven.

 Tears streamed down my face. Please someone help me, I whispered into the wind. Hoping someone could hear me and take me away from this life..Gee, life, is that what they call it, I thought. My mother was drinking neat vodka, and a mug full of it a few minutes ago. I hate my life I thought.

“Come on Cindy” I shouted. My wonderful friend came bounding towards me, with her lead in her mouth. “Let’s go and feel free” I whispered to her. Her tail wagged, and I smiled as I walked towards the gates, and out onto the road to freedom.


© 2010 JanieB

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Featured Review

I definitely enjoyed this story!!! I really liked how you brought up memories of the past, they really made me feel sorry for Zoe that she didn't have that loving mom all the time. Sometimes people do change with alcohol.
If your looking for improvement Somewhere in the story you could try to tell the reader what age Zoe is. it's Something I did want to know when I was reading this , how old is Zoe, is she still in high school? Is that why she is trapped, and can't leave? or is she old enough to live on her own but she chooses to stay with her mom because she truly wants her to get better.
All in all good job =)

Posted 12 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Second sentence - you don't need to saw 'mother' because the character already said mum. The character also had already taken the mug from her mother but you make her do it again and that is within the space of a few sentences. For soemthing so emotional the formality puts me off. I suggest you rework this and take on the advice I've given but I like the allusion and that you put in your best efforts to have good spelling. Plotwise, let us know what she's angry about earlier on.

Posted 10 Years Ago

It's really good, but I saw that you entered it in a contest to mkae the reader cry. It's not that its not SAD exactly, its just not like crying material, just my thoughts, but it was really really good.

Posted 11 Years Ago

this is great! you made it very easy to understand the charcter, which allowed me to feel closer emotionally to the piece. I have a golden lab too! i love her to death. They are the most uplifing doggies to have around, so I really loved that part. I also could relate to having a friend that makes things seem better.

Posted 11 Years Ago

This is a decent story. It showed the emotion the narrator felt towards their life and how it was effected by their mother's drinking problem. I think that the ending was nicely done, showing that even in the worst of situations there is some happiness to be found.

I did not see many grammar or punctuation mistakes, and the ones I did see were minor and easily fixed. Such as, "Mothers' hand" in the second line. Mothers' would imply that you are talking about the possession of multiple mothers hands. Like I said, minor fixes. Nothing to be too worried about.

I think you did a good job and I have to say, it was worth reading. Keep writing.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Wow! That touched my heart and not alot of things do. I really like this. Your an amazing writer! God gifted you with this talent. :) This reminds me of my friend who's dad is drinking and she is cutting herself because of it. :'(

Posted 11 Years Ago

This was very enjoyable. It's funny how life can change so suddenly, and animals do make very good friends. I could slightly relate to this, and you did a very good job on getting the emotions through. It needed to be proofread, but that is understandable.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Your mother is blessed to have you. Everyone needs someone to care about them. As an odd fact you published this on my birthday!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this story brings reality into the face of people who read this, it is a sad sad truth.
Try putting her thoughts in itallic, it makes it eaiser for the reader to tell the defferece form the characters thoughts and actions
very well written has a nice ending to it, kind of concludes that there is still happieness in the porr grils life with the dog.
Keep writing your verry good!

Posted 12 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very good, a tale told many times by many people, but this felt special. Love the last paragraph.

Posted 12 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A great story, really enjoyed reading this! Sad that this happens everyday to someone!

Posted 12 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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21 Reviews
Added on October 19, 2010
Last Updated on October 19, 2010



Paphos, Europe, Cyprus

I started writing in October '10. A real new bee to this world of writing. I currently live in Cyprus, where I have been since 2005. I am British, and have spent many years living abroad. Please j.. more..


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