I looked out at the stars and my head felt cool against the car window. The rain softly rolled down the window like a lazy river. Everyone was quiet, there wasn’t much to say. My mother’s hands shook while she drove. We had jumped in the car so quickly, I wasn’t even sure if I grabbed my toothbrush. My father had come in a raging drunken state once again. After my parents had exchanged more then a few cruel words, my mother gathered us and rushed us to the car. This wasn’t the first time, yet by now I was almost numb to it. Our headlights shone up on my grandparents house and I felt a rush of peace looking up at it. My mother parked the car and we all got out. My brothers rubbed their sleepy eyes and knocked on the door. I can hear my grandparent’s dog barking loudly, each bark makes my head pound.The lights came on inside and my grandpa came out of his room with a look of surprise which turned into sadness when he saw it was us. My mother had not called them beforehand, she never did, but they always let us in. My grandpa opened up the door and welcomed us with a warm smile. He didn’t ask why we were here, he already knew.
“How are we doing Miss Britt?” He asked me. This was his nickname for me. As simple as it was, it made me smile.
“I’m okay,” I answered softly. He opened up his arms for a hug and I gladly accepted. My grandpa was always a hugger. Whenever anyone came to visit it was expected to give grandpa a hug before you did anything else. Everyone loved those hugs, there were always there when we needed it. A lot of the times, he was the only person who would hug me for a while. My grandma came out with her red hair in a loose bun. My brothers towered over her as she hugged each one. When she got to my mom, she pulled her aside to talk about what had happened. The rest of us went into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
“You guys have school tomorrow right?” My grandpa asked. We all nodded our heads. He looked at the time on the stove and it read eleven o’clock. “We can always take you in later if you want,” he said. We smiled at him thankful for his offer. My grandma came in and her pink proper pajamas made her look like she was dressed up for the day. She was always put together even at night.
“Are you guys hungry, if you didn’t have dinner I could make you a snack,” She said. My brothers and I nodded our heads. Even if my mother had managed to make dinner during the chaos, it always helped us calm down to have something at grandma’s house. My grandma opened up the fridge and looked to see what she had. My mother had gone to bed, exhausted from it all.
“Is mac and cheese alright?” she asked.
“Yeah, that would be great,” I answered. My grandpa turned to look at us, his grey hair was neatly combed but his green eyes were tired.
“How was he? Was it bad?” He asked. I always hated talking about my father after these nights but my grandparents intisied. I wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening but they wanted to talk it out. In the long run, this helped us not bottle things up. Even now I am not a person who welcomes deep discussion and opening up, but because of my grandparent’s efforts, I have learned to not let the past overwhelm me.
“He’s been worse but he still came home pissed off,” my oldest brother, Zach, said. My grandpa nodded.
“I know it’s hard right now but you can’t turn to hate. You cannot hate your father,” he said. They told us this all the time yet it was so incredibly hard at times. This was always harder for my brothers, they dealt with things with anger. It was the only way they knew how, they still struggle with this. My grandpa always tried so hard to get them to forgive my father. He would spend hours talking with them in his office during the times they were really struggling. His office was always a running joke in my family. It was the place he always had you go if he saw that you were dealing with something. So many people’s lives had been changed in the office, not just family, but friends, even strangers.
“Here you are,” my grandma said as she gave each of us a plate of steamy mac and cheese. It was warm and cheesy to the bite, the smell seemed to wrap around the kitchen. After we ate, my grandparents said good night and we all went off to our separate sleeping places. As I stared up at the white ceiling that night, I remember being so grateful for my grandparents. They had saved so many lives, including mine and they wanted nothing in return. I remember feeling as if everything was going to be okay as long as I had them to make the dark world a bright place. That night wasn’t the last night we would need to escape our home. It eventually stopped when my parents separated. Throughout it all, my grandparents were my backbone, my whole world. They were there for me when it seemed like the world was against me and my family. Today, things have calmed down, but the joy that they give me and others has only increased.