So today I had to hang out for three or four hours with two people that have verbally attacked me many times over the course of the years. These people are my father and his second (former) wife, my brother's mom. She spend most of my childhood accusing me of being a liar to my face and accusing me of trying to steal The Family Inheritance (from my brother) behind my back. Haedy stuff for a ten year old (although the accusations continued up through high school and beyond). The last time I heard from her was my freshman year in college, when she called me up to accuse me of trying to psychically give her bone cancer. I was certainly glad not to hear from her again. But there she was at the wedding rehearsal today and then again at the rehearsal dinner. There was no introduction to me, we made no eye contact with each other, and frankly I think she spent both of most events just kind of hiding from me and everyone else. I see her as a ticking time bomb and being around her makes me feel kind of panicky, like when is she going to go for me? Will it be when I'm talking to someone else? Will it be when I'm by myself? Will she come up to me and accuse me of some other horrible crime that I am completely innocent of? Of course, rather than focusing on me, I could focus on her and feel sorry for her, because chances are she is NOT having a good time, or I could focus on her older daughter, my brother's half sister (one of three, me being the youngest), who is perfectly miserable at having mom-sitting duties when she really needs a nice relaxing vacation after all of the sadness she's gone through.
Then there's my dad. (Gad, I'm feeling the gigantic knots in my shoulders right now.) I felt bad about avoiding him at the rehearsal (of course he was an hour late, so he missed most of it), but then I felt bad because he was really pretty alone, not having anyone else to hang out with what with his son being so busy with wedding stuff. So we invited him over for breakfast tomorrow, but then over dinner he started into some of his weirdness ... arguing about unimportant stuff, talking about our fabulous president and how he doesn't understand what the problem is people in Seattle have with him, and pouring himself great big drinks that make him turn mean. I asked him if he might perhaps wish to moderate his drinking given that he was going to be driving some of the wedding guests back to their hotel, but he wasn't interested ... and then I remembered how viciously he attacked me for making that very same suggestion at Grandma's funeral (only of course that time he'd already had a pitcher), and I started seeing the whole thing happening all over again - him jumping all over my ass in front of a table full of friends and relatives, plus an extra 20 people for good measure - and I got all panicky about him flipping out on me again. Why in the world did I even invite him over here? He has absolutely got to get some anger management counseling. He's going to be here for an extra three days after the wedding and my brother is going to be gone most of that time. What am I supposed to do with my father? I just want him to go back to Kansas and go away. I can't really imagine how I'll not be afraid of him but I can easily imagine myself forgetting to be on guard and having him slip in with some psycho attack that I'm completely unprepared for. I want it to go back to just being people that I can trust to be decent and I'm looking forward to having the whole event be over and saying goodbye to these other folks.
So: I'm going to buy some irises tomorrow at the King County Iris sale, and maybe buy a dress, and that's about my plans for the afternoon before I have to show up at Marymoor for the wedding. With any luck it will be a good night.