Standing in line at the post office, grocery store or basically anywhere there’s a cue of people, sometimes provides opportunities to accidentally overhear conversations. Here are some verbatim …
Standing in line at the post office, grocery store or basically anywhere there’s a cue of people, sometimes provides opportunities to accidentally overhear conversations. Here are some verbatim holiday snippets overheard...
…at the post office
Although I am in recovery now, I was glad I was still drinking the Thanksgiving Day after my parent’s divorce. My brother and I decided to invite them for a celebration at my brother’s house. We only did this because they swore to us that they would remain friends. Then our father walked in with a date. Now we know him well enough to say that this was an intentional act to hurt our mother. However, as I reached for another bourbon, our mother started picking up my father’s date.
My father dated this woman, Debra, whom he brought that day, thereafter for about two and a half years. One morning, I got a call from him asking me if I wanted to attend a wedding, his wedding. I said, “Oh, are you and Debra finally getting married?” His response was, “Debra? I’m marrying Joan.” I had not heard of Joan, but apparently one month earlier, without telling any of us, he switched his affections to someone named Joan. So I went to his wedding to Joan.
My mother has since settled in with a female partner the same age as me. They make a pretty, feminine and ‘once married with children’ couple. They also fight often in ways that my parents did. My brother and I now meet in secret over most holiday seasons.
…at the grocery store
I thought it was a good idea for the family to meet after Thanksgiving to talk about Sam, my brother who none of us have heard from in almost ten years. I mean, he could be dead! My mother said she didn’t care anymore if Sam ever came by or not. And then she dropped a bomb. She asked, why did I stay away from the family for four whole years without any contact at all?
Now this was a question we’d exchanged several emails on and I thought was already done. So I minimized the retelling of painful stories and emphasized the ten plus years I spent in therapy as a way of helping myself become integrated with the family again.
My mother’s immediate reaction was to tell me her long-held hypothesis about my therapist whom, BTW, she’s never met. Yelling at me she said, “Your therapist had so many problems with her own mother that she needed to project them all on you so that you would feed them back to her so she could resolve them by hearing you talk about her problems with her own mother, not yours.” And that’s why I’ve been in therapy for so long.
…at the thrift shop
I’ll never forget when I worked as an art consultant for Citibank. We’d get all sorts of solicitations from artists and one year this sketch book came in and in it was a drawing of a typical American family at a Thanksgiving dinner. But when you looked closer, you saw all the family members plastered with the same generic smile except one. That one person looked horrified because she was seeing something that no one else was seeing.
On the Thanksgiving banquet in the middle of all the usual trimmings, there was a giant carving knife with its pointed blade jammed right in the center of the table. Like I said, the one person looking at the knife was horrified. I felt an immediate connection and that I was her. Going into this Thanksgiving, I can’t decide if I’ll be the horrified person or the knife.
Here’s wishing you, dear readers, all the joys and blessings of a happy family and a memorable Thanksgiving!
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