Tuesday, August 18, 2009
on meeting my dad's new wife.
My sister wants me to share. But I don’t want to share. I just want to feel free to bitch in my head and jot down some cutting remarks and exaggerated displeasure all within an overly dramatic monologue that I will post on this blog.
I just want to be able to curl up in front of the TV and watch Guiding Light because this is one thing that makes me, irrationally, feel close to my mother, like she is right beside me and we are watching together. I just want to be able to watch a particularly depressing episode of Oprah because I know good and well that it will make me ball, and I happen to need an excuse to ball (but it’s just Dr. Oz dishing out his medical-guruism). I just want to be able to lie in bed at night with the lights off while I cry. My husband will bring me an excessive amount of toilet paper to blow my nose into. He will say, Do you want to talk about it? I will say, No. And eventually I will fall asleep.
What do you want me to say? I ask my sister on the phone.
I don’t want you to say anything.
Except, I doubt that she cares for my silence. So I say: Seeing her interact with our cousins was hard. (Pause) What do you want me to say?
Sister: Just say that. Say what you’re feeling, so I can try to help you.
I wonder in my head again: But what do you want me to SAY?
Because if I say what I’m feeling, she’ll hear the tantrum-like words of a five year old spew from my mouth. Projectile-like. And she already has a five year old at home, so I’m sure she doesn’t need to hear me going on and on saying things that, later, when I am not still reeling from the visit, I will admit I don’t mean: I hate her. I hate my dad’s new wife. I don’t want him to be married to her. I don’t want my mom to be dead (I will still mean that later). I don’t want to see her in the presence of my cousins, acting like an aunt to them, them treating her like an aunt. I don’t want her to fit in easily. I don’t want everyone to embrace her and my dad’s newfound happiness easily. My mom was smarter. My mom was more beautiful. My mom (insert list of unfair comparisons here).
Imagine: Me on the ground, fists and feet pounding. Wah-wah-wah.
Now, is this really what my sister wants me to say? I doubt it. Because, how is she supposed to help a person who just feels like pouting until she is ready to stop pouting?
But her phone dies, and I am off the hook and don’t have to think of what it is she wants me to say, or how to say what I am really thinking, which I am sure is not what she wants to hear, even though she says she has no preconceived notions of what she wants me to say.
I want to vent like a five year old, and I don’t want to be comforted in the process. Or reasoned with. Because I spend plenty of time reasoning with myself. About how my dad was so depressed after my mom died, and how it’s nice to see him look happy. About how hard this must be on his new wife – meeting his extended family, adjusting to the United States, learning English, learning how to drive, feeling totally dependent on my dad right now. Etc.
At dinner last night, when he talked about their upcoming trip to Cancun, I wanted to pick up the fish on my plate and fling it at both of them. In your faces, I would have said.
Consider this my tantrum. Long, overly-dramatic monologue forthcoming.