I come from a dysfunctional family. Our idea of communication is screaming at each other. We can hardly even seem to find ourselves all together in the same place. Mothers’ day of 2008 wasn’t much different from any other day except that my brother and I had been forced into our best clothes and we ate an early dinner at an Italian restaurant that all I remember about entering was the sound of “Dress” by PJ Harvey playing on the radio. Tory, my recently divorced oldest brother and his new girlfriend, Amari were running late and pretended to be lost but, were actually at the mall trying to buy our mother a gift. A family friend had come along and we worried about his epilepsy as a red light on the wall flashed violently. My mother and brother, Robert argued about where the waitress had seated us, a booth too small for the seven of us but we were forced to stay there as there was no larger table available. The sounds of The Velvet Underground peeked through the wails of bratty children and obnoxious laughter as my brothers and I presented our gifts…only to have them dwarfed by Amari’s gift of an expensive looking bracelet of silver seashells and fish with onyx eyes. I made the a quick decision to hate her but decided to pity her when Tory’s phone rang and I knew by the way that he glanced around suspiciously that another woman was calling. I remember never having felt more trapped as I sat squished between my brother and my seizure-prone friend and I was more than disappointed at the taste of the sour shrimp in my pasta. But as the night went on and the music turned to Marvin Gaye and Al Green, our glasses and plates emptied, I looked around at my family; my arrogant brothers, my argumentive and controlling mother, my passive-aggressive father, my epileptic companion who I’d forced to squeeze his eyes shut or keep his head turned away from the menacing red light in order to avoid a seizure, even who might become my fourth sister-in-law and I loved each and every one of them. They all made me absolutely sick in their own special way but I couldn’t deny the warmth that I felt for them. Perhaps I was high off of something in the metallic tasting water but the feeling was strong and unexplainable.
April 24, 2009