I think on holidays I’d rather get obliviously drunk alone than be reminded that I’m a useless burden.
You’d think she’d realize after Oscar, that one holiday someone can be there and dead by the same time the next year. Especially these days.
I’m trying to not fall into a deep depression. I slept most of the last 24 hours trying to forget.
I knew I was fucked well before I ever got into her car. “So help me, if you make me wait” was one of her Messenger missives (she had left her turkey in the oven, though). And “you need to find a way to my house next holiday. It’s unfair to me.”
I got into the car feeling like a sack of shit, wishing I could run back into my home. She bitched about work, trying to poke little jabs at my dead mother in between, or at least that’s how it felt. She talked about how the psychiatric nurses around her weren’t real nurses. “Not talking about your mother, of course.”
“My mother only did psychiatric nursing some. Most of her nursing career was hospital and home health, ” I said flatly.
She also put down her co-workers who took frequent smoking breaks. “Smoking is just another addiction. Wear a fucking patch.” I didn’t even try to go there on that subject. Pick my battles, lads.
When we got to her house, she wanted me to do the stuffing from her father’s recipe. My anxiety swelled as I tried to decipher what parts she had already done. “Can you do it or not?” she asked in that you retard sort of voice.
I somehow did it without fucking up too much, even though I was momentarily stumped at how to measure out a lb. and 3/4 of a lb. of butter. For some reason, the cylinders in my brain didn’t register that measuring lbs. could be done with a measuring cup too.
Dinner was uneventful, even pleasant as we talked about the song choices on the 90s Sirius radio station. I began to believe things might go OK.
Later, we started working on the kitchen, she putting food away and I rinsing and washing dishes. Some I loaded in the dishwasher, others I scrubbed by hand. When I had done, I began to walk away. That’s when I heard her cry, “What is this?!”
There was water on the floor. “I must’ve splashed water out while washing,” I said.
“This is why people get mad,” she said. “I worked hard at this meal, trying to make the holidays special, and the least you could do is help clean up. I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I’m never doing this again if you can’t at least help clean up. Now I have to drive you home too. “
I wiped the spilt water up and cried in the bathroom as I had done virtually every holiday there.
Splashing water on linoleum had never seemed like a big deal to me at my apartment. Invariably, I would splash water out and let it dry on its own. The pitfalls of lacking common sense, I guess.
By the time we got back to my home, she had calmed considerably and we were back on goodish terms. She stayed a couple hours and even helpede throw away my neighbors’ broke furniture. “Are you sure they won’t get mad?” I asked. An old computer chair that could barely stand at all and a chair made from an old recliner that the tarp padding blew away and could no longer be sat on.