|Jana scanned the restaurant, desperation aflame in her eyes. She raised an arm, a waiter appeared. “One more, fast,” she said, waving him away with her empty bottle. James said nothing. His sister wasn’t surprising. Embarrassing maybe, but not surprising.
“Things any better with Bill?” James asked.
“Ugh. Bill,” Jana answered. “Won’t let me do anything. Even said it was expensive for me to fly out here to see you. Jesus.” Before James could respond, Jana jumped back in. “Just like Dad was with Mom, wouldn’t let her leave the house. She could have gone out with friends, but no, always the victim. It was her life, but it was always, ‘Poor me.’ Jesus. Makes me sick.”
The waiter appeared with Jana’s third beer and a fresh glass. Jana ignored the glass and slammed down a gulp straight from the bottle. “It’s like my jerk boss at the book store,” she spat. “I kept telling her what she was doing wrong, but she never listened, made my life miserable. I wanted to take a hammer to her. I could never have stayed there. Jesus.” She took another gulp. “Everything sucks, nothing I can do about it.” She looked at James. “Thank God for you," she said. You always know what to say. Make me feel better.”
“You’re Mom,” James said.
“You heard me. What decisions are you going to make?” Jana set the bottle down and stared at her brother.
Late that night, James noticed a slice of light under the guest bedroom door, heard muffled sobs.
A week later, Bill called. “What happened out there?” he asked. “She hasn’t had a drop since she got back.”
“You guys have a mirror in the house?” James asked.
“A mirror? Yeah, sure.”
James said, “She might be looking in it.”
(Word count: 300)