Prying Eyes

The ECT worked, and as the cycle of gone forever and here to stay continues, Gabe watches his perfect loving family from the outside. One-shot from Gabe's POV!

"Mom."

She couldn't hear me. I wish I could count how many times I used to say,

"Dad.", or

"Natalie!"

Just to prove to myself that neither of them could hear me. But whenever I talked to mom – she dropped everything to listen. Mom passed Natalie a bowl of salad, and Dan buttered a dinner roll. They were talking – school, work, Henry, a new TV for the living room….I rolled my eyes as each new topic was brought up.

Partially because they were such boringly typical family dinner conversation topics – and partially because I was jealous that I couldn't participate. I watched them all, in the dimly lit dining room, smiling, eating, and laughing. The table had four chairs at it and the sight of the fourth empty chair made me sick. It was almost like they put it there to mock me, to remind me that I'll never sit it on those conversations, to remind me that no matter how many times Natalie claimed otherwise, I'd always be invisible.

I can pretend to be confident and cocky all I want, but if I knew anything about my Dad it was that me and him were very much alike. He pretends to be happy, I pretend I hold the answers. He pretends things are okay, I pretend I'm in control. My mom fell for both of our facades.

It appeared that my Dad had stopped pretending. The budding vein in his neck, and bags under his eyes were gone, and his smile no longer looked like it hurt to hold on his face. He was happy. That destroyed me, because his false demeanor had always seemed to drive Mom further into my arms. And happy Dan seemed to pull her towards him.

He faked it until he made it, and I only wished I could do the same. I would never be the confident, perfect son I pretended to be. Not anymore. I was gone. The only part of me that remained in my mom's mind and heart were her memories of me as a baby. The past 16 years didn't matter anymore. Just enough of her memory had returned. I remember my Dad explaining to her that if the memories were meant to come back they will – and I guess I wasn't.

For a moment, my mom's eyes went to the window behind me, her gaze locked a few inches from my face. I moved to the right so our eyes locked. There I was – staring into her soul, begging to be let in again, and an unfamiliar set of eyes continued to look right through me. Those weren't my mom's eyes.

Fear and gloom were always sitting on the surface of my mom's eyes. That lost look like her eyes didn't know where they should set themselves. The tears that seemed to sit still in the corners, always threatening to pour out. The look in her eyes that something was missing, like they as well as she were incomplete and empty. The longing grey emptiness was gone, though. I longed for that grey emptiness.

The blue hue had brightened, and pride and happiness replaced the confusion and grief. The selfish boy in me was boiling over with anger, that after all these years they'd finally gotten rid of me – that no matter how cocky I acted, they'd always be stronger than me. It had always been the other way around. Change her meds, take her to a new doctor…none of it had worked because I knew just how to weasel my way through my mom's mind. Through her eyes.

These new eyes were open. The corny, cheery eyes that danced through conversations, and that were able to see a once invisible girl. These eyes blocked me out.

The eyes that told me I had won, the eyes that fed my longing, that reminded me that regardless of the scientific truth I was very much alive. The eyes that never blinked, that stayed open to me – that meant she could see me. Those eyes were closed.

She couldn't see me. But I wouldn't give up. I couldn't give up – not now. I had beaten their obstacles before, and found my way into my mom's open arms. She wouldn't shut me out. I knew she wasn't strong enough too.

Sometimes, all that some shut eyes need is a little bit of prying.

They would open again. They always do.