Challenge #1 Writing: To Let Go

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Challenge #1 Writing: To Let Go

Post by nightsncoffee on Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:26 am

Prompt: “We are not going to Reyna's house this Thanksgiving."

Warnings: Contains mentions of alcohol abuse.

Story Below: (Click to view)

As incredibly self-centered as it sounds, I hated travelling during the Thanksgiving season despite my five children’s adoration of it. They got to see my sister Reyna. Glorious, beautiful and fun Reyna. They were too blinded by her little jokes and the “Yes, you can stay up past 11,” to see the six bottles she went through during the evening. They were too wrapped up in the little flat screen television to hear to yearly intervention going in, just two rooms away.

My sister’s drinking was an issue all the way back in college. While I was a casual partier and one who consistently refused to drink while I was underage, my sister was the opposite. She drank more vodka than water and her room saw more boys than the average high-school football team. As we worried away, my sister threw caution away and drank herself into oblivion to forget God-knows what.

Thanksgiving dinner had become a tradition at my dad’s house. My four brothers, James, William, Casey and Ken, along with my three sisters, Reyna, Rin and Elisia would crowd around a small table and stuff ourselves with turkey and stuffing. My dad died when I turned twenty four and Reyna took over the tradition. We attended only to find that her health had decreased, while her drinking increased.

We worried. James and Ken got married; Casey and William got jobs as lawyers. Elisia wrote two novels and Rin went to med school. Reyna seemed stuck in time, living in a beautiful house with an abusive boyfriend and no job. We worried until we couldn’t take it anymore and we hosted an intervention on the next Thanksgiving.

Intervention Number #1 (The First Failed Attempt)
Casey: Reyna.

Reyna (speech slurring): Yes?

James: We’re worried.

Reyna: Okay.

Me: Your drinking has gotten out of hand.

Elisia (know-it-all-voice): You’re killing yourself and dragging us down with you.

Rin: You need help.

William (tearing up): Please. Not for us, for you.

Reyna (looking bored): Okay.

She went to rehab. Once she finished, her boyfriend bought her wine to celebrate. My anger was infinite. She called me drunk, bragging about making it through the process.

“I’m clean!” she screamed into the phone and erupting into giggles. “Cleeeee-yeen!”

Next Thanksgiving, we hosted another intervention. This time, her boyfriend came home halfway through and screamed at her for not calling the dentist. Casey beat him up and called him a few choice names. Reyna broke up with him, kicked him out and went cold turkey. She moved into Casey’s house and we didn’t have Thanksgiving the next year.

Years later, I got married, had kids and became happier than ever. Reyna moved, seemed to become stable and got a job. Then when we got to her new house for Thanksgiving, I smelt liquor on her breath and my heart shattered. She was happy, played with my kids and seemed normal. But she reeked of alcohol and the despair in her eyes shone brighter than the little candles on the table.

Each year worked the same until my kids began to get… older. Old enough to begin to realise what was going on; old enough to become affected.

As I laid with my husband, his hands in my hair, my head on his chest, I felt so conflicted and sad that I couldn’t bear to lay silent anymore.

“Something on your mind, Jen?” he asked.

I swallowed. “We are not going to Reyna's house this Thanksgiving."

There was silence and I feared my husband’s judgement. Was it giving up on my sister? Was it cruel to leave her up to my other siblings to deal with?

But there was no chastising, just the understanding words, “Yeah. It’s probably most wise.”

As I looked away from him and into the dark stillness of our room, I tried to agree.

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