… was an interesting and eventful day. Roomie and I made the 350 mile round-trip trek to visit my mother. Divorce or no, my family considers Roomie a part of the family, and she adores them. I’m fine with that.
The trip itself was uneventful. My new ride averaged a little over thirty-six miles per gallon, and the trip consisted of probably fifteen percent city-type driving, and a significant amount of hilly and semi-mountainous terrain. And I was running the A/C. Considering that it only barely has a thousand miles on it, and is therefore not broken in yet, I’m satisfied with this performance.
Despite an unofficial kickoff time of noon, at eleven thirty, we were the first to arrive . Mom opened the gifts we brought, was pleased, and immediately put them to use.
One of my brothers lives with Mom. He has had some serious health problems of late, and the last I knew, his attitude was essentially one of waiting for death. The last several times I visited, if he was out of bed at all, he would be wearing a t-shirt and shorts like he sleeps in, and would be dragging his feeding machine along behind him. Not today. He was fully dressed, and heading out the door when we arrived. The difference?
He now has something to live for. Something to do. He grew up driving 1960’s musclecars, and his favorite was a big-block powered 1966 Ford Fairlane. A few years back, he bought one in very rough condition, hoping to restore it enough to bring back some of his youth. He quickly learned that it was way beyond his ability, and it sat for a couple years. Another brother, concerned for his health, thought to help get it at least driveable, in an effort to motivate him to give a shit about life again. It worked.
The car hasn’t been on the road for very long, and it is still quite rough. But it is (mostly) street legal and driveable. He spends most of his time nowadays working on it, and the change in his health has been unbelievable. He took me for a ride in it. To be honest, it scared the shit out of me. He’s an old man with reflexes to match; he has vision problems; there were no seat belts; and a cammed-up 390 has enough torque to cause serious whiplash. Fortunately for me, the transmission is weak, and he’s afraid of the power that he knows it makes. That combination kept him out of the four-barrel enough for us to survive the ride.
Brother who did the majority of the work on the car arrived as we were leaving for the ride. Eldest brother arrived somewhat later with a grandchild in tow, and eldest sister, her daughter (more about her later) and four grandchildren finally showed up around two or so. Youngest sister and youngest brother were not there. (Both are older than me, but they are the two youngest besides me.)
Much enjoyment was had over good food. When we weren’t eating, my brothers and I congregated around the Fairlane, and talked about cars and youth. But mostly cars. The wimmenfolk were inside talking about whatever it is that they talk about.
There were two dark spots in the day, though. The first didn’t directly affect me. One of my brothers lost his best friend last week. I had met the man, but didn’t really know him. Although he’s not one to show emotion, it was obvious that my brother is taking it hard. They talked regularly, had many joint hobbies and projects, and were generally best friends. He’s lost without him. I never know what to say or do in these situations. Repeating I’m sorry gets old quick, and doesn’t help, but I didn’t know what else to do.
The second directly impacted me. My niece (eldest sister’s daughter) and I used to be very close. Since she was a child, and I was barely more than a child, we always seemed to have a special connection. That lasted about twenty years. I trusted her, confided in her, and was closer to her than anyone else in the family except Mom, and it wasn’t far from that. That changed last year, after my last marriage.
She got mad at me. She accused me of not taking marriage seriously, and told me that I needed to seek psychiatric help. Perhaps she was (is) right, I don’t know. After a brief conversation, she refused to talk about it any more. In fact, she completely stopped talking to me. That was over six months ago, and I had hoped to begin mending fences yesterday. I wanted us to be able to agree to disagree, and move on.
Throughout the day, she seemed to be able to stay busy with her two kids, one of which is roughly ten, with severe Cerebral Palsy, and the other is a demanding toddler. She also stayed active in conversations with others (including Roomie), or otherwise not readily approachable. It wasn’t obvious, and if I hadn’t known what she was doing, her behavior wouldn’t have attracted any attention.
Just before we left, I noticed that she had gone to her car for something. I walked over, hoping for at least a brief conversation. She noticed me walking over, but made it a point to avoid eye contact. She continued whatever she was doing, her back to me, while I stood there for about a minute. I didn’t say anything, waiting for her to turn at least slightly towards me. Eventually, I decided the hell with it, turned and walked away.
She’s thirty (ish – I don’t remember exactly), but if she wants to act like she’s eleven, that’s her right. It hurts, but so be it.
When I got home, I found an e-mail from my current legal spouse. She e-mailed me a couple months ago, but I didn’t write back. Nothing of significant substance was said this time, either. An excerpt, translated to the best of my ability:
I do not know why I am writing to you. Prior to my departure to America, I thought I was happy. I woke up in my bedroom and fell asleep at night, and I was fine. The boys were there every day, too. Work, friends, everything and everyone around me was happy.
When I realized that I could not live in a foreign country and decided to return home, I thought that everything would be the same, and again I’ll be happy … but unfortunately, I can not enjoy life as before. Something in my soul is not there.
Do you know how many times I go through the memories in my head? I see it all like it was yesterday, I remember every detail. Thank you very much for your gifts.
To me, this sounds like her way of saying that she misses me, or at least her time here. I’m not sure what to make of it. She also used the phrase “like a sister” so she obviously isn’t be interested in anything romantic with me, even if immigration laws didn’t already prohibit it. Somehow, I doubt that she ever was. What little intimacy there was, probably was a result of feelings of obligation on her part.
All in all, a good day. A weird, less than stellar ending, but the average still rounds up to “good”. Back to the grind tonight, for the first of six in a row.