Tag Archive | Miracle Whip

Captive Audience

My best friend is grieving the loss of her significant other. And, I get it.

How do you go to the grocery store, and look at different items, and not think about another person? It doesn’t matter if it’s some kind of food or condiment you liked but they abhorred, or even if it was something they made for you and you both shared. I almost started crying, just looking at yogurt, thinking about how I didn’t eat greek yogurt regularly until he was in my life.

How do you go anywhere in the world, and not think of that person? I walked around the mall last weekend, past Jared’s Jewelry where he took a picture of me in front of the store when it was closed for the night and I glanced at what remained of the Melting Pot, where I took him for my birthday dinner but that location has since shut down. But that mall was always a favorite spot for me to spend my time and money, so I have every intention of reclaiming my memories of going solo.

How do you live in the same house, when they’re no longer there? I’m not a fan of cleaning my own room, but I just spent part of today cleaning his room and washing his clothes that were on the floor. I feel like someone is going to complain that it’s too soon, especially for the fact that I’m going to move myself into his room. I also feel like someone is going to think something ridiculous, basically undermining my honesty and trustworthiness, because I know how people can be. But the only thing I’ve gotten rid of was the stack of letters that I wrote to him, back when things were good between us. I can’t go back to how things were. Other than that, there are so many things in his room that bring back memories, even if it was just fast food I picked up on the way home. Regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels, I’m going to clean up his room, I’m going to box up his stuff, and it will be ready to go when his dad stops by.

Even though there are memories, I don’t feel like he’s here, or even that feeling that comes when you’re waiting for them to come home. It doesn’t feel lonely here at all. Maybe in a metaphysical sense, he really wasn’t here, even when he was physically present.

But no, Libra isn’t deceased, at least not yet. For the time being, he’s incarcerated while he awaits sentencing for a crime that a jury found him guilty of committing.

I find myself on the other side of the looking glass. I spend 40 hours a week at a job where a third of my calls are from inmates. Now I’m the one putting money on an account so he might call me, I have to try to visit him during certain hours, and I have to abide by strict guidelines when it comes to any of these procedures. I expected that I would have an account on JPay, but his correctional facility uses something similar instead.

I remember my Mom telling me about how she wanted to take my brother and I to visit my uncle when he was in prison, but my Dad told her not to take us, because we might end up glorifying prison life later on, or at least we’d be desensitized. But now here I am, making arrangements to communicate with an inmate.

I don’t think I’ve been desensitized to prison life, either, not from watching Orange Is The New Black, not from taking prison calls, and not from personally knowing someone who’s locked up. However, there are a few things I’ve witnessed from having to process calls from prisoners. I’ve seen people ignore phone calls, with the number of rings on redial being different from the last time the number was called, so you know they’re hanging up. I’ve had people ask how family members are doing, even going so far as to encourage a family member to do well in life. Inmates have families, they have spouses and children, and they want to make sure that things are going well even when they can’t be there to help take care of things. I’ve seen how helpful and generous Libra can be, so I know he’s not a bad person, whether or not he did a bad thing.

But that’s my next problem, is that whether or not he did it, people believe he did it. I live in the house of someone convicted of doing that bad thing. I’m friends with that person who did the bad thing. It really limits the things I might want to sell at a yard sale, if I have one here, or even if I should be festive and celebrate Halloween. I knew of the charges against him, and I still chose to move in, but it was an accusation then whereas now it’s a verdict.

Well, there’s only one direction to go from here, and that’s forward. Forward means new places, new people. Forward means that my memories are just that, and are not binding me to stay in one place. It doesn’t mean I can’t write to or talk to Libra, but since I’m not coming home to him anyway, it doesn’t mean I have to return here, or be here at all. I can be anywhere, I can live my life how I want, where I want. Not that anything really stopped me from leaving before, it’s just that now I feel like I have more of a reason to go.

Meanwhile, as I take the time to figure out my next direction, I will slowly take ownership of his room. If nothing else, it will be more presentable, if someone should happen to stop by to collect his things. And who knows, maybe my efforts will be appreciated.

Also, his room has a heater, my room does not. That’s reason enough to move in there. I’ll be damned if I’m going to freeze this winter.

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Missing Persons

And so we close out the month of May on an introspective note.

I had a family get-together on Sunday. Leading up to that, I had to consider what I wanted to bring for food, what I might wear, what I would discuss with my extended family, and what I would do if my brother showed up.

I made a macaroni salad, which in my case isn’t quite like anything you could get from the supermarket. I mixed everything together; a pound box of pasta, a can of tuna, some frozen sweet peas, a few hard-boiled eggs, and my secret condiment combination. When I tasted it once everything was mixed together, it didn’t taste right. Something was missing.

Mom. Mom was missing. The macaroni salad was fine.

I thought about how Mom would have been stressed while getting ready to leave for the get-together. Then again, I’m not sure if her mood could be described as stressed. Dad would have one of two moods: either he would sigh and say, “you know your mother gets like this when we get together with the family,” or he would be angry and firmly tell me not to upset Mom any further. But Mom would usually look for certain things on the day of the get-together, not have them ready to go beforehand. Things had to be “just so,” even though she wasn’t a perfectionist, but she did have a certain way of doing things.

I rolled out of bed, if you want to call it rolling and you want to call the couch a bed, and had a bit of a stiff back from how I slept. I took a hot shower, trying to relieve the stiffness of the muscles in my lower back. I found my shirt that has an American flag design printed on an electric guitar and wore that with a pair of jeans and my leather Ren faire boots. I really didn’t leave until the get-together was supposed to start, mainly because punctuality wasn’t as important as being there.

I walked in and was greeted by relatives who seemed surprised to see me, but some of them hadn’t seen me in over a year. I had been asked if I had spoken to my brother, to which I honestly replied that I haven’t spoken to him since Easter when I left his place crying after an argument. One of my cousins, the hostess of the party, mentioned an incident involving some photos being given to my brother, and my brother removing family members from Facebook in return. I vaguely remembered him telling me his side of things, and all I can say is that there was a misunderstanding.

I sat down and ate my plate of food while talking with other family members about life and such. The more I thought about my brother’s reactions to things, the more I realized that he wouldn’t be coming, that I wouldn’t see him at all. And he never did show up.

I needed a moment of zen, so I went back to my car and took out one of two kites I had in my backseat. I managed to get some wind, and had the kite up in the air a couple of times before the line knotted up as I was reeling it in after the kite came down. I sat down at a picnic table to fix the knot, but this picnic table was away from most of the people and close to the river that ran near the house. It was a nice day, only partially cloudy and not too cold outside, and the view near the river was quite peaceful and lovely. So I stopped flying the kite for a little while, and enjoyed the scenery. That, and another cousin’s daughter was quickly becoming a spectacle in a canoe, and a few of us were watching her to see if she would make it back to shore. I managed another flight of the kite as I headed back towards the house, but yet another cousin started singing a song lyric that went something like, “what goes up, must come down” and my kite inevitably landed in the bushes that time.

As I was packing the kite into its box, I had a few people talk to me about the kite and watching me fly it. It made me feel a little better, not that I was looking for attention from flying the kite. I just never had the opportunity to fly the kite since I bought it, so it was nice that it wasn’t too complicated (it is a little more advanced than the plastic kites I grew up using) and I didn’t get frustrated as a result. But it was easier to talk about a kite with my family than some of my other interests, and I wasn’t talking about my brother either.

So what is it with my brother? Well, he’s adopted. (Mom: “He’s still your brother!”) I know, I know. But a lot of things factor into his personality, and I think that’s one of the major things.

You see, his adoption has been on his mind a lot, especially since Mom passed. He actually mentioned to me that his records are apparently locked even to him, and while I knew his records were locked, I never thought about who could and couldn’t access them. When I thought about him saying that, it said to me that he was actually looking for his birth mother, that he probably had questions and was trying to understand his origins.

After Easter, something on Facebook prompted me to look up “toxic narcissism.” Sadly, everything I was reading was describing my brother. One part of it basically said that it came from issues with his mother, and maybe I’m being nice to my own birth mother by pointing the finger at his birth mother.

Think about it, though: he probably feels abandoned by his birth mother, unwanted, unloved. Maybe he resents her, I don’t know. I want to think that she didn’t want to get pregnant in the first place, that maybe something about her situation wouldn’t have allowed for her to care for a child at that time. She didn’t get an abortion, and maybe she could have, or maybe she didn’t realize she was pregnant until it was too late to abort. Maybe she assumed she wasn’t going to become pregnant.

Regardless, she did give birth to him, and then put him up for adoption sometime after that. I don’t know how soon after, maybe she tried to raise him but realized a month later that babies are too much work. Whatever happened, she figured that someone else might be able to raise him better than she could, and she wanted him to have a life that she couldn’t give to him.

But I can’t tell that to my brother. We don’t have the warm and fuzzy relationship between us, so I can’t be all heartwarming around him.

He is quick to anger, and not really one to look at more than his side of an argument. So that misunderstanding over photographs? He probably won’t try to understand that the family meant nothing by it, and if they really didn’t want to look at our faces, the photos could have gone in the garbage.

The family enjoyed seeing my face this weekend, and it was nice to let everyone know what I was doing with my life. They don’t know everything, but they didn’t seem too concerned for me, so I’ll just let them be satisfied knowing I’m nearby and doing relatively fine. I can only speak for myself, but that should be enough.

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