His hands shook as he read, as the sender’s identity became clear to him. He should’ve known. With that handwriting, who else could it be? But, never… Never in a thousand years would he expect to hear from her. Not even in writing. With the way that they had last parted, he’d imagined that he’d never get a chance to even hear of her for the remainder of his life.
She wasn’t one to use social media, and after that incident, his family had done nothing less than ostracize him. And he didn’t blame them. He stared at the signed name again, letting his eyes pass over it again and again, trying to make out whether it was a dream. Finally, tears came to his eyes, streaming his face and falling onto the paper, smudging the once clear ink.
Frantically, he wiped it away with his fingers, and pressed the card to his chest. It’s been years since he’s heard from his mother. Last they spoke, she had publicly renounced him, disowning him as her son. Never, she had announced, did she want to lay eyes on him again. True to her words, she had changed the lock to their front door that day, leaving nothing for him there but two luggages, with most of his belongings. “Get Lost.” Their labels had said.
His, once healthy, father had been confined to a sick bed, since hearing the news. Since learning of what he had done. His mother, not wanting him to further upset his father, had banned him from visiting the man. But, the look in her eyes that day told him everything. It had been days since his father discovered the truth. But since being sent to the hospital, his father’s condition never looked up. Tears had come to his eyes, upon seeing her that day. He hadn’t intended it to turn out that way. But the haggard look to her face told him that some things were already beyond repair.
“Sir?” A child asked from behind him. She was wearing the beanie hat that he had bought for her, when he found her crying. She had lost all her hair in therapy, and had been subject to prejudice and bullying at school. He wiped away his tears, and turned to smile reassuringly at her.
“I’d stopped by to say good night. My parents are taking me home!” She told him, excitedly. “The doctors told me that I’ll finally be able to go to school again! You’ll come visit me there right?”
“Of course.” He told her reassuringly, bending down and patting her head affectionately. Gently channeling a warm protective light into her, he watched her run off to her family standing in the distance. Standing, he smiled, waving goodbye to her as they disappeared into the night.
He’d never forgotten what he’d done. He’d never forgotten the sorrow and suffering that he’s brought his family. This holiday season, like all the others before it, he donated a few thousands, and visited hospitals to accompany the sickly. A futile effort to lift the stone that weighed down his heart. A futile effort at extinguishing the anguish and regret that he still felt for his own actions. But did them anyways, hoping that his actions could save families. He prayed on their behalf that they would never becoming like his.
He looked down at the card, holding it at his heart. He stayed like that for a moment, before letting his eyes run over the final words once more. At that moment, he felt an emotion that his actions had never given him. A glimmer of hope shone into his world. “We all miss you.” His mother had written. “Come home.”
She had given him a present far greater than any material good that he’s ever received over the years. Far greater than anything he could purchase with all his wealth. He closed the card, and despite the tears that streamed his face, he smiled. A true smile. In those few words, his mother had given him more than he could ever ask for. Forgiveness. A family. A home. A holiday season to remember.
This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Promptly Written” Publication.
Why does a holiday greeting card that arrived in the mail make you cry? Write a scene or full story. Who says miracles don’t happen?