Thanks Giving: In 500 Words or Less

When I was a kid I looked forward to holidays with dread.  With dripping bittersweet feelings, and anticipated remorse.  The memories of over-indulgences; good food, desserts, antipasto, bubbling libations, pretty, festive decorations, freshly roasted chestnuts (really!) and all the other enticing aromas of an Italian-American holiday.  The excitement from waiting on the arrivals of people who I dearly loved, was unbearable.  That special day of the year when we could all be together.  To enjoy ourselves and each other  But it never happened that way.  Not for me.

I suppose some family members enjoyed eating, drinking, laughing, cajoling, being loud, argumentative and the center of attention.  Center stage.  Bringing up past hurts and personal traumas, seething with resentments.  Festering.   An entire year to stew, brew, and maybe even rehearse for the event.

The glorious annual-only opportunity to sling the arrows drawn back and held for eleven months.  Oh, the relief they must have known, in the brief chance to spew their hurt and pain.  Like popping a great big boiling pimple.  The pressure and poison finally released.  And owed to the glory of wine and alcohol; relieved of any conscience they might meet in the mirror, on the morning after.

Today, as an adult with three children of my own, two who are adults, and one young daughter, I sit, I stand, I walk from room to room.  Frequently visiting outside to pace the driveway,  using a cigarette as an excuse to escape the emptiness I feel inside.  We are alone together this holiday.  Myself, my daughter, and mother.

I think about my youngest daughter and whether or not she is missing her father, and our past Thanksgivings together. I think about my mother, and know that she is reliving every Thanksgiving she can remember, with all the ugly bits intentionally extracted.  I wish I could see the movie screen of her mind, to witness the good and happier parts of those days, too.  My mental movie projector has no such editing or censoring features.

This separation is so new and fresh, I cannot even force myself to construct future lies: Next year will be better.  Secretly, way deep down I see my daughter spending next year’s Thanksgiving with her father.  And it will not matter where I am, who I’m with, or what I’ll be doing.  I’ve been long ago tricked into believing that holidays should be something, anything, other than what they are.

The very best that I can do today, tomorrow, the next, and next year is to just get through it, to try hard, and hope that I don’t bring the ones I’m with into the abyss with me.

“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of sorrow.”
- Dante -

There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.
There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.

It was last Saturday

He had spent five nights here, with me and our daughter.  Behaved as though it was his vacation home, on the lake.  Sauntered in, and took an approving but snobbish look around the place.  It’s humble. It’s small and cozy, perfect for my daughter and me.
And, it’s MINE.

But his demeanor disturbed me on a psychic level.  Something visceral, and intuitive.  “I’ve somehow led him to believe that we are still a couple, in some way.”  If I hadn’t led him on to believe that, than I wasn’t direct enough to advise him that we are, in deed, NOT a couple any longer.  Fucking head games.  We’ve both been playing head games for so long now, it’s become our common language.  The one you speak on habit and reflex.

He’s led me to believe that we are still a couple, and that things will work out.  That we’re just going through something most married couples go through.  When it suites him, his bankroll, and his dick.

So, after five nights of sleeping with me, in me, and in my small bed, and while I slept on the couch, he’d packed his clean clothes, bevy of supplements, “Testosterone Booster”, and left for his annual-winter-on-the-road-job.  And he called later that night, like he always has.

This time, like most nights, he’d had just enough beer to drink to commence with the emotional abuse.  Last Saturday night, once again, he spoke his truth.  “STOP BEING A DOORMAT! STOP BEING A VICTIM!!!”  No truer words have ever been spoken to me.  No truer words have I ever felt so poignantly, so deeply.

He used to complain that I never listened to him.  Never took his advise.  Until now.  I think I shall put into practice his advise, beginning with the giver of such exquisitely deserved advice.

The doormat has been destroyed.  No more mat.  No more “Welcome” mat.  Replaced with a sign on my front gate that says, “No Overnight Parking.”  Not in this driveway, and not on my couch.

Maybe It’s the Weather

I wish that there was something I could believe in.  Besides gin & tonic, and citrus.  I’m going through another period, or cycle, of disenchantment.  Disillusionment.  Having a rumble and tussle with denial.

Some might refer to this as “The Dark Night of the Soul”, but it’s not that dark, or deep.  This is more like chronic gray.

It’s cold outside.  And raining.  A slow, consistent drizzle.  Everything seems to be asleep.  Quiet and still.  The only movement being that of the ripples, dancing across the lake, set-off by the drops falling from the heavy sky.

She Said…

You’re in a horribly foul mood.

No she didn’t.

She wouldn’t use an adjective.  But she did stutter for several seconds before saying foul.  And that’s what led me to paraphrase, just a little.  I know she would have used one to add emphasis to her disgust, if she could have quickly enough, to throw the dagger.

And then she said, “Why don’t you call me back when you aren’t in such a “FOUL” mood.”  There was emphasis that time! Kudos, Mom.  You certainly made your point, with a laser sharp edge.

The thing is, and I know everyone has had those moments when after hanging-up the telephone, you think of all the quick, witty comebacks.  Equally as sharp; or maybe even intentionally jagged.  You know, so you can tear the flesh, just a little.

I wish I’d said in retaliation, “Well, it’s gonna be a long time, Mom.  Because most of the time just hearing your voice puts me in a foul mood.

And so, it’s been a little over three weeks since I’ve spoken to my mother.  Not the first time we’ve allowed big chunks of time to waste away, due to our immense egos, and big butting heads.  Often referring to this method as being, a tragic waste of time.  Whenever our feelings are hurt and we are monumentally pissed-off, that we seek to inflict the most pain with the least amount of tangible evidence.  We refuse to speak to the ones we love the most.

There is a confession, however.  I called her yesterday after talking to my son.  When he told me that he does call her every week or so just to see how she’s doing, and to hear her voice, I softened-up.  I began to think of my own consistent words to my older children.  About how we shouldn’t miss an opportunity.  That we never know when, in the blink of an eye your whole entire world will change.  And I’m not talking about the life-changing events of winning the lottery.  I’m referring directly to that phone call.  That phone call informing you that someone you love, has died.

It’s happened.  It’s happened on more occasions than I care to recall.  When my dad slipped into a coma.  And when he was moved into Hospice care.  Only days later, on Valentine’s Day, passing away.  And then, only one year and two months later, the phone rang again.  The same messenger on the other end, announcing that my three-month-old grandson had died.

You never get used to these kinds of phone calls, or blinks.  But I am beginning to wonder whether or not so many blows to the solar plexus softens you up, rather than making you hard and calloused.  Do you become numb, or just so filled with humility, and gratitude, for the ones who are still in your life?  I don’t know.

She called just a little while ago, because I had told her yesterday, in her hurry to attend a “Celebration of Life” memorial for one of her friends, that I’d call her either today, or on Tuesday.  She wanted to know if I was ‘okay’, since I hadn’t called her, yet.  After reassuring her that yes, I’m indeed just fine, and that I will call her tomorrow, we hung-up.

I’m really not in the mood to talk right now.  I’ve been working most of the day to put together this blog, and it has fairly well opened a few old scars.  I don’t want to risk the chance of becoming fouled, or the opportunity to have a pleasant conversation with my mother, about the friend she recently lost.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  For both of us.

Weather Report

While sitting here this morning at 6:30am, in front of the T.V. watching the local news, the weatherman pointing to the map says, temperatures are “near normal”.  Suddenly, and now awake, I turned to my friend and reflexively quipped, “What a great blog name.”  I’m always playing with ideas for blog titles, and often claim them out loud. I’ve been very casually blogging for a little over three years, and writing since the age of 13.  Admittedly, I author a number of blogs with minimal enthusiasm.  Having created for myself, a conundrum.

Not that any of my family read my blogs, but they do know about the primary one, and that I frequently add content.  Evidently, the few times they have visited, whenever I was compelled to show them the latest photo, a post I was particularly proud of, or when I have given them an honorable mention, it hasn’t been interesting enough to illicit much of their attention, or memory.  A microscopic blip slipping off the map of life, outside the radar of their minds.

It should be considered an advantage, that they don’t read my blog.  Affording me to write exactly how I feel at any given moment without constraints of decorum.  No social or familial filters to hinder my words.  And it is.  However, being there is that remote possibility, of someone who has any part in my life, to (some day out of sheer boredom) look through the internet window of my inner world, I’ve chosen the way of anonymity.

There are also a few friends and acquaintances who provide irresistibly delectable ingredients for prose.  But always the game of emotional-chess-moves holding me captive: “How do I write about this, without the possibility of hurting their feelings, or it being taken completely out of context?”

I’ve long ago earned the distinguished titles of, “anything but ‘normal’”, and the black sheep crazy person of the family, but as Maya Angelou points out– There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

And these, are the catalysts for this blog.