Unfortunately, some family members are so psychotic that no matter how hard you try to forge a healthy relationship, nothing will help. Now that you're an adult, take refuge in the fact that some things are beyond your control. You owe it to yourself to steer clear of people who are harmful to your health.
I've remembered that most of life is about small, essential connections, so unobtrusive, so elastic, that you scarcely realize they're actually holding you together. The big ones-the great, grand emotional bonds-those are the ones that break, the ones that fail you, the ones that give way and send you careening toward the foot of the bleak and jagged canyon. It's the tough, gnarled, unadorned ties that really do bind, that never let you fall all the way down into darkness.
Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.
Places are supposed to look smaller when you go back to them, but my road just looked schizoid. A couple of the houses had had nifty little makeovers involving double glazing and amusing faux-antique pastel paint; most of them hadn't. Number 16 looked like it was on its last legs: the roof was in tatters, there was a pile of bricks and a dead wheelbarrow by the front steps, and at some point in the last twenty years someone had set the door on fire. In Number 8, a window on the first floor was lit up, gold and cozy and dangerous as hell.
It could not have been easy for Mother, an only child, to grow up without a father and with a mother who was remote. Photos of her as a child show her extremely dressed up --Cornie's beautiful little doll. But a daughter, unlike a doll, grows up, and might fall in love with and marry someone her mother does not like; she becomes an individual with her own ideas.
My brother trolled recovery and support groups, searching for women with dependency issues, the way I frequented bookstores with the hope of finding a well-adjusted, intelligent woman. Between us, his record was more stellar, his sin more reprehensible; though, knowing my brother, he slept soundly through the night without ever experiencing the slightest remorse.
It was the sibling thing, I suppose. I was fascinated by the intricate tangle of love and duty and resentment that tied them together. The glances they exchanged; the complicated balance of power established over decades; the games I would never play with rules I would never fully understand. And perhaps that was key: they were such a natural group that they made me feel remarkably singular by comparison. To watch them together was to know strongly, painfully, all that I'd been missing.
Anyway, it was Oscar who called me to remind me that our nephew, Lydia's son Garnett, was turning eleven years old. Fuck my life. I hated that kid. He smelled like asparagus, and he sweated way too much for a healthy child; but then Garnett, given his propensity for biting teachers and catching chipmunks in the backyard only to bury them alive, was no normal kid. He was a case study for sociopathic behavior in the making. A walking, talking, farting, sweaty, odorous, chipmunk-burying cry for help.