“Your hair looks pretty tonight,” dad said rubbing the back of my head as we sat on my couch. “You have hair just like my father’s.”
“Why did you do that today about the orange drink?” I asked, diverting my father’s affections. “You carry it too far sometimes. You and mom can both go overboard. I have too few comforts left.”
“I’m sorry,” my father replied kindly. “We just don’t want you to go back to the way you were. Do you realize how far you’ve come? You are like a different person – a completely different person. You are the son I lost years ago.”
I sat quietly watching The Weather Channel waiting on my medications to take effect. Dad was very, very late tonight and it was almost midnight. I had grown so weary I was about to collapse. I had almost given up on him and gone to bed.
We watched as the clock on my television turned to midnight. A huge cacophony of fireworks erupted in my neighborhood. Maggie was outside bringing in the New Year by barking her fool head off trying to protect me, dad, and the house from all the noise. The drug dealer next door was throwing a big party and two boys were fighting drunkenly in the front yard. I sighed. Dad chuckled.
“I love you son,” my father said, holding my hand. “There’s nothing more important than family. That’s why we are always going to stick by you from now on. I will never let you go back to that monster you once were. I promise you that from the bottom of my heart.”
A tear streamed down my face and dad wiped it off. I’ve come so far, but it’s been hard – very hard. You would never understand the pain on those first days I quit drinking and I wanted a drink so badly I could die. I would never imagine making it through a New Year’s Eve sober a few years ago as well. I realize my father means to do the best for me now. Without his help, I would still be a drunken wretch, or even worse – a mentally ill homeless drunken wretch.
“Name two things that would make you feel better,” dad said, patting my knee after letting go of my hand.
A glimmer of joy lit up my eyes.
“What would you like for the New Years?”
“I would love a new 2 Terabyte hard drive for my computer and a steak dinner from Barne’s,” I replied, hopeful. I never get to shop or eat steak much and Christmas was such a boon it had whet my appetite for such things.
It all sounded so contrite and materialistic, but those were the simple two things I wanted. I long ago ceased to make insurmountable New Year’s resolutions.
“It’s a done deal,” dad said, smiling. “We will go eat at Barne’s restaurant tomorrow night and I will order your hard drive. You just promise me to stay sober and to take your medications.”
You could see the relief in dad’s eyes. He thought I would make wishes much harder to fulfill. Like asking for money again. That would be impossible for him to grant at this current point in my life.
“All I want for the New Year is for my children to be healthy and happy,” dad said before leaving as he stood up. “I am determined you are going to be such a way.”
I stood up as well to walk him to the door. Despite my tired weariness, I had a big grin on my face. It has been such a good few weeks mentally and tonight with my father warmed my heart. Dad is not very affectionate – usually hard as stone. I bid dad goodnight and came directly in here to write this while it was fresh upon my mind. Happy New Year’s!!!