“What did you say? I can’t hear you.” Moreen punched up the volume on the phone.
”Mom, I …”
Static filled her ear. She pulled the phone away and turned the volume back down. She held her breath, redialed her daughter’s number. No answer. “Where is she?” she glanced at her watch. It wasn’t quite her curfew, but she felt something was wrong. She could hear it in Kay’s voice. “Lord, watch over my baby.”
The phone rang again. She almost dropped the phone, “Hello?”
”Mom, I need a ride.” Her voice wavered. “Can you come get me? I’m at Jenny’s.”
She exhaled, “Of course. I’ll be there soon.” Moreen grabbed her purse and darted outside. Her hands shook as unlocked the car. She took a deep breath as she backed out of the drive.
Every light seemed to be against her tonight, and twice as long. Turning onto Maple Drive, she pulled up in front of the house and parked. Kay was sitting the porch step hugging her knees.
Moreen fought the urge to grab her daughter up and rock her as she had so many years ago. Instead she sat beside her, with her arm around her shoulders. “Are you alright?” The smell of smoke and beer were strong.
She nodded, “Yeah, kinda. Can we just go home?”
“Yes.” They got in the car and headed home.
Moreen heard a gagging noise, and pulled over. Her daughter got out and heaved along the side of the road. She got back in and Moreen handed her a tissue. They continued the rest of the way in silence.
Kay looked at Moreen, “Mom, I’m sorry, I…”
Moreen cut her off, “Just get some sleep, we’ll talk in the morning.”
* * *
Moreen poured two cups of coffee as she heard Kay come down the stairs. “Have a seat.”
Kay huddled over the cup, inhaling the fragrant steam. “Thanks, Mom.” She took a sip and closed her eyes. “Mom, I was really stupid last night.”
”You want to talk about it?”
”Well, Jenny’s folks left for the evening and we decided to have some of her dad’s beer and cigarettes.” She took another sip. “At first, it was really nasty, but after awhile it didn’t matter.”
Moreen sipped her coffee and listened. “I see.”
“Then these guys showed up. One of the other girls invited them. We had a few more beers. When those ran out, one of the guys got out some pot. I kept telling them I didn’t want any. At first, they left me alone, but eventually they started blowing the smoke in my face.” She took another sip.
Moreen set some muffins on the table, and took one.
”Well, I ducked into the bathroom.” She looked at her mom, “That’s the first time I tried to call you. I couldn’t get a good signal. While I was in there, I heard yelling. Jenny’s folks got home early. They kicked all the boys out.” She started to cry, “Mom, I know you’re mad at me. Will you say something?”
”Oh, honey, I love you, I’m not mad at you.” Tears started to form.
“Then why are you crying?”
”Tears of joy, honey, tears of joy.”
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4
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