Last Night

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It's my last night in Arizona. Tomorrow I'll fly to Albuquerque, where I'll attend a meeting on Thursday before flying home on Friday. We, my mother, brother, and I, have been on an emotional roller-coaster for the past two weeks, but things have settled down now, and for the past few days we've gotten along well.

I should probably let some time pass before I try to write about all this. I'll leave tomorrow with a familiar feeling of regret that things I want to say have still gone unsaid and may always go unsaid. I had an unhappy childhood for which I myself am considered to have been responsible. When I was having recurring nightmares of abandonment at the age of twelve or thereabouts, it was considered to be my fault that my parents didn't like me.

Nobody wants to hear me bring any of this up. Explanation and/or reconciliation in adulthood is supposed to have made childhood misery moot. This week my mother chalked up my having been habitually left out of the fun to my having been a girl; nothing personal. I guess I was supposed to say, "Oh, well in that case I feel better about it all--here I always thought it was my fault." The fact that my grandfather and brother (who was 2 years older than I) were close was purely based on gender, according to my mother. My brother got to go places with my grandfather, while I stayed home with my grandmother. This was the gender fallout and supposedly balanced. While my brother spent time with grandpa--a good ol' boy who kept a bottle of whiskey in the garage, I spent time with grandma--an excessively righteous Dutch Reformed Church Lady whose expression of disapproval, a guttural "HAAH" pronounced with a short "a" like the "a" in "cat", is burned into our collective psyches.

Staying home with grandma meant helping her in the kitchen--shelling peas, snapping the ends off green beans, while my brother watched TV in the hardware store and ate lunch in the restaurant across the river.

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May 2009

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