Tonight the cracks in his best behavior began to show. At the Mighty Wurlitzer Christmas Sing-a-long, when I asked him if there were still people living in the family farmhouse (rent-free), he said yes, began to tell me all of the things that they had done to fix up the house, then kind of slowly started in on the bellowing about how " they've got new wiring and rebuilt the walls [gets louder] and made it a better place and they should be there [gets really loud] another five years rent-free ...[blah blah-I stopped listening]!!!" I cut him off, saying, "That's good, we don't need to talk about that," then was thankfully eased into the second act as the lights went down and the music started. I spent rather a lot of it feeling blue about stupid things, because for some reason all of the Christmas songs reminded me of all of the depressing Christmases I spent with my family (not my father or half-brother, but my stepfather and my mother) in Phoenix ... all of the arguments and tension, the sense of isolation, loneliness, and fear, with fights constantly bubbling below the surface and reading my only solace. I knew I wasn't in a good mood and tried to analyze it away, and shadowdaddy could tell I was feeling blue and kept sneaking my hand into his.
I was just reminded of why I dread the holidays in general, and how they became so much better when I stopped trying to spend them with family. This was of course tremendously aggravated by the card I received from my aunt today, who told me she knows I'm "still very hurt and may be angry at me - I have really prayed in my heart that you would find it in your heart to forgive me for anything I did .... There are so many memories of happiness and even fun if we look." This reminded me of the things I could be mad about from the past (her hitting me, but not too much else), but more of the things I was upset about now ... which was how she has pretty much displayed no interest in me for some fifteen years or so, including leaving me to hang with both Grandma and Grandpa's funerals. (Grandma was September last year and Grandpa was in October. I have never bothered saying anything about it here until now as LJ condolences are just too pathetic for words - better to only mention to people I see in person, and I pretty much told none of them either, not even the people I work with.) And when I look at the past I can't find any happy memories to hang on to ... what is she talking about? I fell asleep after work today crying bitter tears because of this letter. It could have hardly shown up when I was feeling more vulnerable.
But there I was anyway, trying Christmas with family, spending the evening with a loaded gun wearing a baseball cap and a black sports coat. After the show we took Papa to Pies and Pints (in the Roosevelt neighborhood), as we hadn't had dinner yet and they were serving until midnight. When Papa sat down, the first thing he asked was, "I bet you want to know what's up with the folks living in the farmhouse." And I told him no, I didn't want to know anything about it at all, and my brother quickly deflected him with questions about the menu. Then when the waitress came back to check on our food, he was trying to get a lemon seed out of the glass, and in his bizarre obsession he wound up knocking the ice in his drink all over his dinner. As the waitress walked away, he yelled across the dining room, "I wasn't going to be beaten by some citrus fruit!" so loudly that everyone in the entire pub briefly stopped talking. I started to get really scared when he wound up ordering two more pints in the next twenty minutes, but fortunately it seemed to stop there, though I was disturbed by my father's near complete lack of interaction with us - it was like he was either going to be dead meat or flip out, as being on his best behavior had just become too hard.
Only three more days. Can things please go well?