He’s eight and it’s the last time he’ll share this day with her. He doesn’t know that yet, of course, and he won’t suspect it until the very end. They’re both too poor to get one another anything, whether it’s Christmas or a birthday or any other holiday in between. And he’s barely scraping by, stealing to put food on the table while she lounges on the couch without a single care in the world, shoving needles into her lavender painted skin. Jamison watches, eyes big and wide as his mouth hangs open in awe, but she doesn’t even flinch – only letting out a satisfied groan once she feels the burning sensation surge through her body like this is no big deal at all. It doesn’t take very long for the high to kick in, and her eyes roll around in the back of her head enough so that Jamison wonders if she’s having a seizure. She isn’t, but he wishes she would some days. It makes him feel guilty about it all and he honestly feels sick to his stomach when he realizes he’s wishing something so terrible on his own mother, but he figures this is the only way she’ll snap back to reality and see the kind of monster that she has become. The road to recovery means you’ve got to hit rock bottom first, right? He’s been told it only gets worse before it gets better and he holds onto the hope that someday, this will ring true for the two of them as well. And when she’s sluggish and quiet, he knows better than to disturb her, but even when she’s in that state of euphoria, Jamison is in his own personal hell.

“The fuck is there to eat?” She barks, though it’s obvious she has no intention of finding that out on her own. “I got us some —," but Sheila’s eyes are wild and she finally staggers towards him, her voice rising with every word as she repeats herself. “The fuck is there to eat?” She can see Jamison shift, visibly uncomfortable with her choice of words, and her voice drops back to an even monotone. “Tell me,” she breathes into his face, “what’s there to eat?” He remains immobile before her, forgetting that he has free use of his mouth. And she waits, surprisingly patient. Jamison stares into his mother’s eyes, the wet trails on his cheeks drying as the minutes pass by and he wonders if she enjoys hurting him. He has softer memories of her, though they seem so far in between; times where she held him close, her cooking, and her voice passing late hours in old stories that he’d love to hear before drifting off to sleep. “Cake,” the eight-year-old finally murmurs, nearly choking on the words as he attempts to speak up again. Sheila’s left eye twitches as she struggles to hold herself upright, reaching for the wall to help regain her balance. “Cake?” She asks in slight annoyance, giving him a quick glance over. “And why the fuck are we eating cake?” His gaze lingers for a minute, reaching for something deep behind her eyes but it’s plain to see that she is no longer there. She doesn’t even look familiar to him anymore, with her skin hanging off her bones and her face hollowed in the cheeks; flesh fresh with purple hues from all the bruises that the needles promise to bring. “Because it’s Mother’s Day,” he whimpers, tears swelling yet again as he acknowledges it for the first time ever – what once was his mom is no more.