I have been thinking all day about family and love and belonging because before I drove off to Eugene my BF, who was there already called and said WELL THERE IS A NEW KID IN THE FAMILY and I said WELL CONGRATULATIONS TO YOUR FAMILY and he ignored my tone which thankgod he is able to do always when I use my tone.
And when I got there we all sat around with deep and resonant glasses of wine, put our feet up on the furniture, congratulatorily. This is not my world and I don't get it. I wont pretend this is my family.
I feel anthropological, detached and curious. No one ever toasted my childhood, dirty urchin, and so I insist this familial sentimentality is lost on me. I had faith. Back then I kicked rocks all the way to the library, misty-eyed in daydreams about long-losts who loved you more then anything, bended-knee proclamations, heartfelt sacrifice, deathbed revelations and unwavering hearts.
In real life it never panned out. People are unreliable and selfish, brutal and infinitely fallible. They will let you down. I get frailty. At least, am homesick for the frailty I know. Am terrified of grand sentimental gestures as foolish and sloppy, most often cooled with quizzical apologetics. The tocsin rings. If nothing else I learned all along the way, love is fickle. Keep your feet planted.
After I moved out on my own I dated a redhead boy simmering with deep dissatisfaction and romantically inclined towards sorrow. I wore bright colors and turned his face to the sun. He sang Let Me Let You Down by Mudhoney. He did.
I spent all my time with the boy from mars. He tormented me by living in his imagination, no matter what I wanted from him. When I finally got up to leave he cried out, baffled BUT I MAY HAVE THE HOLY GRAIL IN MY BACK POCKET AND YOU WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW IT. I flung myself out the door.
The second time Brandon came to visit I told him that I thought maybe my ex-boyfriend was one of the most important influences in my life. That, to qualify, is not a compliment, though not entirely disparaging, and is uniquely his gift to my life. Others have rent holes in my universe, but he alone with my consent. I took all the parts so broken and disappointed and learned with my bare hands where each bolt screwed in, how to rethread the nerves through the column of my spine.
And so, by cumulation distance builds up like heavy minerals. Eventually the drama of heartache becomes simply annoying to endure. There are few times when I am so low on peevishness that I am indefensible against sadness. There are times I am no good at living in my microcosm... hurl outward to the miseries of the world the children murdered by American trained despots in Central America like some astral traveler when confronted with my own grief and sorrow.
What right to I have to grief? What do I know of sorrow?
And all weekend I have been thinking. Do I have the nerve to get drawn into this family without hurling myself out of context and scale, to the cosmic injustice of disproportionate wealth, war and undue privilege? I never did want to be a dirty urchin, but I just don't want it said outloud... ya know? It just seems so vulgar to want.
And still, and yet... I find myself inexplicably drawn in by this charming boy, baffling so crusted over with my mineral layers as I am.
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