I talked to a friend today for the first time since I've been back from Arizona. It was interesting. I tried to start off cool, calm, collected... all of those things you should be in public and with strangers-- but only in private among friends. Eventually he started asking the hard questions, as I knew he would. It's a simple formality that defuses so much stress for me. Listening to someone's problems is like making eye-contact with a homeless person. You still want to treat them like a human being, but you'll end up regretting it later.
So he asked me how the relationship stands with my dad since summer. “Has it improved? Did you two talk?” “No, no.” I say. No, it hasn't improved at all. My father still feeds of his perpetual guilt as a muse and mentor in every sale he makes and AA meeting he attends. If you cut him open you'd find an empty bottle of Jameson. “That's alright,” I tell him. I don't chase him down anymore to have a heart to heart about the past, or his feelings, or his mistakes-- no, we're adults now. We use each other as a means to an end. This is the way males bond. Instead of getting angry at him when he's a ****, I just ignore his phone calls for five days until he's saturated in his guilt long enough to actually be proactive. When I call him back It's expected he'll send me money, even if it's unwarranted. It's so easy. I don't have to fight with him, and he gets to avoid looking at the loser in the mirror. Nobodies emotional needs are being met-- but, hey! At least we can spend the 100$ drinking long island ice tea at the layovers on the way back to my life away from hell. Thanks dad, really.
“And how is your sister?” he asks. “Oh, she's loosing her mind,” I say. She asks me why I don't try harder for the family. She blames me for leaving and emotionally severing myself. “It's like you don't give a **** about anything but yourself,” she says. Well she really hit the nail on the head. I, apparently, am the patron saint of reassembling ravaged family units beyond repair and squaring the circle. I am fully aware of how angry she is that she can't do the same emotional distancing for herself. She wants so badly to grow out of that child that's still locked inside of herself begging for a functioning home. So there she is, Atlas, holding the weight of the world and I'm the one that put it on her shoulders. No one can advise her because we're all to blame, are her victimhood is a virulent strain infecting everyone but me.
“And hows your mom?” he asks. “Oh, well she's just a silly goose, you know?” “Sillier than ever,” I say. Making her rounds to the ER quicker than she rebounded from deciding to leave her boyfriend and live off my sister in Seattle. “At least this time it's from the aftershocks of her attempted suicide and not the actual act of doing it, you know?” But there still runs the potentiality of getting that phone call-- “Hey, your mom's got a tube running into her heart.” It's a fun game of Russian Roulette we like to play in our family-- nobodies winning. But she made the time to come to Flagstaff and spend some quality time with me for my birthday. Forked over a little bit of Xanex for me and my girlfriend, bought us *****, drank with us. “You know, what are moms for?” I say.
I tell him, "My life is like a Modern Family episode directed by Quentin Tarantino."
It just makes a person a little rough around the edges, you know? And with insight comes a bit of cynicism. Like, yeah. I dissected and tore you apart yesterday-- but it's only because I love you. Your imperfections really make you shine. It's that feeling you get when you try to jam the wrong shape through one of those Fisher-Price toys-- it doesn't fit but you force it anyway.
But you're alright, you'll muddle through.