2017 1st Place Entry – Caution on Carson Way

By:  Kayana Kirkpatrick

Caution On Carson Way

Westlake High School/ 9th Grade
1,988 words, 7 pages

Danielle sat straight up in her bed drenched in sweat. She took a deep breath in and out trying to relax her heart, which felt like it was about to beat out of her chest. She grabbed her cell phone off the nightstand to see what time it was. 3:53 am. She shook her head in disbelief. This had been the 5th night she woke up from the same nightmare over and over. Her father had been killed by a police officer three months ago, and she was having a hard time coping with his tragic death. Her father had been pulled over for a minor traffic stop and it had ultimately resulted in his untimely death at the young age of 42. The memories of that dreadful day kept replaying in her mind. It was the morning of September 14th and it was a typical Saturday at Danielle’s home. She was in her room flipping through the television channels when her dad, David Walker, walked in.

‘’Hey Dani girl what you up to? ‘’, He asked, flashing his silly grin that always made Danielle laugh.

‘’ Nothing much, I’m just trying to find something to watch.’’  She responded.

‘’Well I’m going to the store to pick up a couple things for dinner tonight, do you want to come with me? ‘’, Her father asked. ‘’ It’s okay, I need to get up and finish some homework for school. ‘’, She responded. ‘’ I love you, and be careful.’’ she added. Danielle’s father kissed her on her forehead as he proceeded out of her room. She had no way of knowing that would be the last time she saw her father alive. In fact, it had been less than an hour before her Mom got the call that they should report to Carson Way, a street that was only a few minutes from their home, and less than five minutes to the store her father never made it too.

Up until that dark day, life for Danielle was pretty typical. She was a fourteen- year old girl who had just started her first year of high school just a month before her father had passed away. She attended Teakwood High School and she had trouble getting used to a new workload at school. Danielle had been very heartbroken for the past three months and nothing seemed to ease her pain. It was very hard on both Danielle and her mother because they had to adjust to a new lifestyle without her dad. Danielle got up from her bed and went downstairs to sit on the chair her dad would sit down on everyday after he got home from work. As she sat in her father’s chair it reminded her of how he would sit there and shout at the television when his favorite football team would lose a game. It always made Danielle laugh when her father would do that.

Danielle burst into tears as she sat on the couch.  The next morning came and it was time for Danielle to go to school. Ever since the passing of her father Danielle had become less attentive in class, her grades began to drop, and she had become distant from her classmates. Teachers and students tried reaching out to her, but it just didn’t work. Danielle knew she was having problems with her father’s death, but she just didn’t know if her feeling of depression would ever go away. Things were just as hard on Danielle’s mother, Nicole. Her mother had been struggling to keep up with the bills at home and she had to put in more hours at work. It was especially hard because they didn’t have any family who lived close enough to help them out. ‘’Hellooo, Dani, did you hear anything I just said?’’ The next thing Danielle knew her mom was waving her hand in her face to get her attention. ‘’Sorry mom, I was just thinking about dad again.’’ Nicole knew that things were very hard for her daughter as they were for her. However, she just didn’t know what steps to take to restore happiness in their lives again. She hated to see her daughter depressed and she could definitely notice a change in Danielle’s day-to-day actions because she was much more withdrawn with her usual activities such as, talking to her friends and participating in extra curricular activities. ‘’Dani I was thinking, maybe you and I should go see a grief counselor. ‘‘, said her mom. ‘’I feel like it would really help the both of us begin to feel better if we talk to a professional about how we feel.’’ she added. Danielle didn’t know how to feel about her mother’s suggestion because no one had ever brought this up to her.

“I don’t know, I’ll think about it’’, Danielle said. ‘’Okay, well you should eat and when you’re ready, let me know how you feel about it.’’ her mother replied. Later that evening Danielle and her mother decided to go out for ice cream. While she was out with her mother she got a text from one of her friends asking if she wanted to go to the mall on Saturday, but she just wasn’t feeling up to going anywhere. When Danielle finally got into bed she kept thinking about what her mother had told her earlier in the day. She knew that she wanted to overcome her depression and she thought maybe seeing a counselor would help her, but she felt so uneasy about it. Morning had finally arrived and after a long restless night Danielle still couldn’t make up her mind about going to counseling. She went downstairs where her mother had prepared her breakfast before she had to leave for school. ‘’Good morning sweetie, did you rest well?’’ her mother asked as she sat down at the table. ‘’ Not really, I mainly stayed up thinking about what you said about the counselor, but I just don’t know yet.’’, Danielle sighed. ‘’Well it’s okay, you know I’ll give you time to think about it, it’s a big step.’’, said her mother. When Danielle got to school her friend Karli approached her. ‘’Hey Dani, are you still coming to cheer try-outs this weekend? ,her friend asked in a cheerful tone. ‘’ Oh my gosh, I forgot all about it.’’, Danielle said in a surprised voice. ‘’ Danielle I know things are really hard for you and I understand that, but I miss seeing you happy and you know I’m here if you want to talk.’’,Karli said.

“Yeah I know, its just that my mom told me yesterday that we should see a grief counselor and I don’t know if I should do it’’, Danielle said. ‘”Dani I think counseling is a great idea, you should definitely go for it.’’, Karli said. Just then the bell had rang and Karli gave Danielle a big hug. The day had gone by in a blur and it was already time for Danielle to go home. After talking to her friend and her mother she was convinced that she should go to counseling to try to help her get back to her normal self. Later on that night Danielle went into her mother’s room. ‘’Hey mom, I finally made up my mind about seeing a counselor.’’, she said. ‘’ Okay, so do you want to go?’’, her mom probed. ‘’ I think counseling would be the best option for us both right now.’’, Danielle said to her mother. ‘’ That’s great sweetie, I’ll call and schedule us a session with the counselor.’’, she said with a relieved grin on her face. Danielle’s mother was happy to know that both her and her daughter would finally get the chance to talk to someone about how they were impacted by the death of David. Nicole’s co-worker had suggested that she and Danielle should go see Dr. Johnson. He was a grief counselor, and according to Nicole’s co-worker, he had helped her and her husband deal with the loss of a relative. It was a Saturday morning and Nicole called her daughter to come down stairs. ‘’ Hey Dani, I just off the phone with Dr. Johnson, my friend from work said he’s really good with helping people who have a hard time after losing someone.’’, she said. ‘’ By the way I got us scheduled for a session this weekend.’’, Nicole added. ‘’ That’s good to know.’’, Danielle replied. Danielle knew her and her mother had discussed going to counseling, but she didn’t know it would be so soon. Danielle didn’t want to ask her mother why they would go to counseling so soon because she knew how important this was to her. She knew things would never be the same without her dad, however she just wanted for her and her mother to be happy again.

Ever since her father had passed she felt like she began to drift apart from her mom. She knew that her mom had been very stressed after David’s death, but she tried to be strong for Danielle because she didn’t want her to be even more worried. All Danielle wanted to do was build her relationship with her mother again. Nicole and Danielle decided to hang out for the rest of the day. They sat on the couch and watched tons of movies. Then they decided to stay in and order a pizza. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had so much fun hanging out at home with her mother. Of course the missing piece of their family dynamic would always be her father, but she also knew that he would want them to rely on their faith and be happy.  It was finally Friday and tomorrow was the big day for Danielle and her mother. Tomorrow would be her first day of counseling. Throughout the whole day of school, all Danielle could think about is how things would go with the counselor. She kept on getting distracted from her work and she could hardly eat her lunch. Danielle had found herself getting nervous about counseling, however she knew the outcome would help her and her mother out a lot. The bell had finally sounded and it was time for dismissal. Danielle got up from her desk and quickly paced out of the classroom. When she got home greeted her mother and went straight into her bedroom. As the day progressed Danielle continued to feel a nervous feeling in her stomach, but she kept telling herself that counseling would help her.

Saturday morning had finally arrived and Danielle got ready for counseling. Her mother had cooked them both a ham and cheese omelet before they had to leave. It was one o’clock and Danielle and her mother got into their car and drove to Dr. Johnson’s office. When they arrived at his office Nicole had to sign both her and Danielle in at the front desk. Since there were more people there at the office, Danielle and her mother had to sit in the waiting room until it was time for their session. Danielle knew today was the day she started counseling, but it didn’t stop her from becoming nervous again. She glanced over at her mother and she could tell that she was a bit nervous too. Danielle grabbed her mother’s hand and placed her head on her mother’s shoulder. Nicole looked over at her daughter and smiled. ‘’Everything will be okay sweetie.’’, she said. Danielle nodded her head. As she looked up she noticed a man come from his office. He said, ‘’ Can I have Nicole and Danielle for their session please?’’ Danielle got up while she still held her mother’s hand. As they reached Dr. Johnson’s door he smiled at them both. Danielle took a deep breath and sat down for the session.


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