Monday, June 21, 2010

A Visit From Family



I sat in Waffle House staring at the laminated convenience in my spot at the booth--menu and place-mat in one. She was on the phone with her latest beau (and I use the term loosely), hardly noticing the company before her. The waitress continued to come to our table, making sure she did not miss a chance to serve us and add to her personal tip jar. She, too, went unnoticed by my friend. I spent two-dollars on a glass of orange juice which I patiently used as a buffer to keep me from ripping the phone out of her hand and stealing the battery from it for the duration of the night. I contemplated throwing my drink at her as well, but the juice had enough tangy flavor to keep me preoccupied by my taste buds' needs over my own. I began to miss the annoyance inside my home from which I thought I was escaping.

At 76-years old, my grandmother had not told anyone that she had been sick since April, and it had finally caught up to her. She is currently lying in the hospital in intensive care with double pneumonia. As she re-cooperates, the rest of us have had the delight of entertaining one of her sons, who traveled 700-dollars worth of plane fuel to see her and catch up with us. The time apart has not helped us come together so easily. We lead two different lives: start our days in different ways, eat different things, and express ourselves, well, differently. While it may be quite overbearing and unnerving at times, with Minute Maid as my only friend tonight, I actually found myself missing my uncle's incessant talking, for when he speaks, he wants our full attention and returns it.

With all of my uncle's negative personality traits, I tried to steer clear of him. Today I was cornered in my room for conversation and eye-contact--two things of which I was avoiding successfully until that moment. Any way a person could find to rival my patience and nerves, he had found. It seemed as though the tension I filled the room with during such times did not bolster his confidence. I actually found myself in the awkward position of being the one who has hurt a family member rather than my usual position of just being hurt. "Will you promise me something?" I had heard this question since his arrival last Thursday. "What is it?" I asked apprehensively. "Will you open up to me?" I did not like hearing this. He was so desperate for affection and love, and it was my fault he was not receiving any. "I'll try." It was all I could say.

Until that moment, I pictured myself ranting about my uncle over a cold glass of chocolate milk and syrup-soaked waffles. I did not suspect I would find myself having to give into his quite pathetic attempts to engage me in conversation, and considering myself a horrible person afterward, while my friend sat across the booth refusing to get off the phone with her latest toy. I could not convince myself that I was hungry enough for even a small serving of hash browns. Even the dollar menu seemed overwhelming. I fought the urge to throw the obvious at her when she finally parted the right-side of her face from her phone. The boy is all wrong for her, but she thinks they have a connection, and it is not the first time she has assumed so. But if it does turn out to be a mistake, I have to let her make it. After all, I was having to face the fact that I am human as well, and this past weekend, I made a slew of mistakes that interfered with loving someone who loves me dearly. Her mistake, if any, would just be to love someone, who did not deserve it, too much. I wonder if it is easier to bleed love than it is to build walls. Blood stains clothes but not quite as badly as Georgia red clay, and you need clay to make bricks, right?

3 comments:

  1. I read somewhere "If you have to ask yourself whether something is right, the answer is probably no." There is an inner person that responds (without "word logic") to the statements and attitudes of others. It reads tone of voice, body language, and others' silent and seemingly inexplicable motives, and responds emotionally with a very simple "go" or "no go" (comfort or discomfort). If you feel a "no go" -- even if you can't quite define it in words -- don't fight that. Instead, follow it. Do not reward whatever or whoever makes you uncomfortable. You don't need to reject anyone (because that only closes doors). But acceptance? Approval? Trust? Not for everyone. That is self preservation.

    Not that it's any of my business. LOL.

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  2. ...Well, he hasn't exactly done anything worth distrust...

    And he is family, so I am going to stick by him, because unlike other family I've previously described in past posts, he hasn't given me a reason to not open up to him...

    In the first-half of your comment you seemed to get the point of my post, but then missed it with the second-half, but whatever.

    Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Yup. That's why it's worth all two cents. =)

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