The old saying goes that the eyes are the window to your soul then why did his eyes look so dead? Starting into a square medicine cabinet mirror he examined himself. Dead hollow eyes stared back at him reminding him of the man he once had been. Dark murky brown hair flopped messily in his face. His reflection was like a ghost hollow and pale. It had been three months sober and still, his body looked like shit beaten to hell by his years of abuse. The only starting feature where his blue-grey eyes that glared mockingly back at him, reminding him of all his straight-laced relatives who always told him that he could never get sober and that he would always be worthless. He had almost believed them. It had eaten away at him until a letter had arrived a month ago. His last hope.
"John, your rides here," a voice said knocking on the door. Steadying his nerves the skinny pale man exited the bathroom making his way to the front of the rehab clinic. Standing there like an Angel stood his youngest daughter April, the only one who would still talk to him.
"Hi Daddy," she said, hugging him tightly, the two had along tender Embrace before they packed his thing began the long traffic-filled drive.
The car rude was tender, tense, and awkward though April did her best to pull a loud laugh and smile out of her father. John admired his daughter thinking how much she reminded him of her mother when they had been young. She even spoke like her mother something that enlightened and broke his heart. How he wished he would have made the right choice years ago.
"So, grans making a Smorgasbord of food I hope you're hungry," she said trying to switch up the conversation the Drone of traffic causing a longer than average transit. They were held up behind a car crash as a group of nosey onlookers did their best to sneak a peck of the chaos.
"Move it!" She yelled out the car waving her hand angrily as cars honked around her. Awkwardly fidgeting with his hands John voiced his concern.
"Mom's okay with me coming right?" He had no interest in ever offending his mother again. She had forgiven him so many times and yet he could see the disappointment in her eyes every time he saw her. How he prayed this time was different. Please let there be a miracle.
"Of course everyone is, Jack still a little shit though so don't mind him," April said referring to her elder brother. She rolled her eyes at his name. "The grinch can just keep his opinions to himself because I'm tired to the April said exasperated. John's face twisted at the thought of Jack being cold to everyone.
"He is still angry with me, which I understand," John said, hanging his head in shame. Before April could say anything they had arrived.
With his heart still hearing John made his way into the family home. Admiring the new decorations he greeted his relatives somewhere kind and loving while somewhere standoffish, only one came off rude. John who had hugged all three of his children was met with hostility from his only son and oldest child. Anger filled Jack's blue eyes.
"Don't touch me, I don't want you anywhere near me, you say shit but it never happens, I can't play that game no more I have my own family to think about, why can't you ever think about anyone but yourself" At first John allowed the verbal asst but as it continued he felt his emotions slipping, bottling up to the surface where they exploded. Anger filled his veins, shaking he stormed out of the house and down the street" he had half a mind to go get wasted and forget the whole lot of them. Before he could decide it began to pour down rain. Rushing under a canopy he watched the cars raced by the angry sky raged just like his heart and for the first time in years he cried not for himself but the things he had lost and the people he had hurt. God must have heard his prayers because the kindest voice said.
"You should come in your soaking wet" Turning around he saw an old lady half his height. Confused, he followed after her once inside her home she saw a ton of stray cats. Disappearing into the cozy overall decorated house she returned with a stack of clothes.
" Here they were my husband" after changing he stood there awkwardly.
"Having a bad day?"
"Bad life," he said softly, not realizing that it would open a deep conversation about life. Elizabeth the elderly woman told him her story of having three kids, fighting a war, fighting addiction and loss it brought him to tears. As he listened he heard one continuous theme as long as he attempted something good would come. Elizabeth to dry his eyes straighten up his behavior and head home that at least one of his children was still willing to try. Desperately trying to dry his eyes he left the house trying to find his way back. Slouching through the puddles he found the house and all the cars were gone. Worriedly he knocked on the door his mother answered looking relieved, pulling him inside she made some calls. It turned out the whole family had gone looking for him after April had gone off like a firecracker.
"I really hope it sticks," His oldest said teary-eyed as he watched his daughter gig her grandfather and run off to play.
"It will, I promise this time," He said, smiling at his granddaughter and daughter. Jack snapped a picture trying to relax. Thankfully his grandmother came out calling everyone to eat.
"Let's eat," his mother said, earning everyone's attention. Being the last to file in he watched his family. They were everything he ever wanted. The reason for existing. Grinning like a fool he joined them. Happily, he set down to what he prayed would be the first of many family meals. Though like all good things only time would tell.