Bruised Milk

Feb. 16, 2014
(A Birthday Surprise)

What started out like a normal day for me, quickly turned south the moment I picked up my phone. Like any other teenager, that device was glued to my hands. It was the first thing I would look at in the morning and the last thing at night. Normally, my phone would have quite a few notifications but it more than tripled that day.

Now I'm not saying that I was a popular kid, far from it, but I was definitely well known. Still, that was an unusally high amount and it left an unsettling feeling in my stomach. Somehow, I made myself believe everything was okay and I began to read some of my messages. There was a small smile on my face as I read multiple texts from people wishing me a happy birthday.

The grin wasn't present for long. It disappeared directly after reading what the next person sent me, it read, "I'm sorry for your loss." My mind immediately jumped to the unpleasent conclustion of something terrible happening to my grandmother. Never in a million years would I have thought about what actually happened.

For my birthday that year, I chose to stay the night at a friend's house and have a party the next day. Because of that, I was a bit clueless as to what the text meant. My friend came out of her bedroom and I could somehow tell that she knew, I tried to get her to tell me but she only advised me to call my mother before continuing to look at my phone.

That seemed like the best thing to do at the time and I was shocked that I didn't think of if first. As a newly turned fourteen year-old, I still believed that my parents had the anwsers to all my questions and I was certian that my mother would know. I dialed her number and waited for her to pick up.

"Ring, ring, ring, ring. . ." it was taking her longer to anwser than it normally would but eventually I heard her say, "Hello?" Her voice was rather hoarse and low but I didn't think anything of it. After all, it was early in the morning and she could have just woken up. I mentioned the weird message that I received and listened as her breath hitched in her throat.

The eerie feeling was in the pit of my stomach again. Instead of waiting for her to say anything, I asked about my grandmother, her mother. She didn't answer my question, but she did breathe out something that I doubt I will ever forget. "Get off your phone. We're coming to get you."

Waiting for her to arrive was the most excruciating fifteen minutes of my life. The time seemed to drag on and on, but she eventually arrived. She came into the house with bloodshot eyes and a red nose, obvious signs that she had been crying. I was a little heartbroken when I realized that my dad didn't come along with my mother and brother, but only because I thought he had forgotten my birthday.

We didn't head home like I thought we would; instead, we all sat at the dining room table, my friend and her family included. Everyone seemed to know what was going on except for me. My friend sat next to me and held my hand as my mother told me the news. The exact words she used did not leave a lasting impact on my memory but my reaction sure did.

Perhaps, in retrospect, I shouldn't have laughed after being told that my dad had died in a car accident in the middle of the night. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure as to why I laughed. One thing I know for certain is that laughing is my way of coping with things. I laugh during scary movies, when I injure myself, and apparently when a family member dies.

However, I think that my reacton had a completely different reason behind it. Ever since I was little, I was always daddy's girl. He was the person I went to for everything and in my eyes, he was a superhero. Back then I didn't think anything bad could ever happen to superheroes so I didn't believe it a first. It didn't make sense to me on how he could be gone when we spoke only a few hours before.

Sometimes a tradegy is what it takes to open someone's eyes. The clock is ticking and I only wish I knew that before that dreadful day, the day that changed my life forever. There are so many things that I could've done differently if I had only known how much time was left. The thing is though, we don't know how long we have or how long our loved ones have.

Immortality does not exist and everyone has an expiration date, including our parents. The greatest gift I was given for my birthday that year was the new found knowledge that change can happen in an instant and it is most definitely not something that we can predict.


In loving memory
John Auston
December 15, 1972 - February 15, 2014

Bruised Milk is a reminder that everything is temporary. From the pain of bruises to the sweetness of milk before it sours as time fades on. Whether it's the beautiful tranquil moments in time or the pessimistic chaos in life. Bruises will heal and milk will sour. Time will come and time will go but most importantly, today will always be the remainder of tomorrow's shadow.

What did you do
when your milk
grew a bruise?

Did the bruise
ever expire?

Is your milk
still sour?

If you could
pour yourself
a fresh glass,
would you?