Merry… Whatever

Yesterday was the slowest Christmas ever. I slept late, but I wasn’t expecting to hear from Cake Woman until 6pm, so once the Keathlys dashed off to their Christmas day activities I was left alone in the house. Parts of me wanted all day to just get in the car and drive to Wisconsin, but I knew that the only possible outcomes of seeing my father were endless seething or an ugly explosion of pent-up bile. I sacrificed seeing the family that I love to not see that alcoholic and addict.

“I never used when I was around you, I didn’t have to because you made me so happy.”

That’s a lie. That’s blaming me for his addictions. If I would have just been around, he never would have used. I tell you what, I never went anywhere. If he would have been sober for the first nine years of my life he never would have had to leave. He worked the program starting in 1984, but step one was supposed to be admitting that he had a problem.

Cake Woman didn’t call until 8, and then it seemed to be forever before she was placing a pitcher of ale in front of me. I had to fetch a glass from the bar, but they were all out of glassware, so the bartender handed me a plastic cup. I joked that I wasn’t going to tip him and he flipped out, so, uh, no tip for him after all. I returned to my seat between Cake Woman and Sister Nadeau, which slid farther and farther from the conversations as more people showed up and additional tables were annexed. I joked that a nearby table was Kamchatka (of Risk fame), but it quickly became apparent that I was stuck in Siberia. The smokers evaporated from my end and condensed again at the other. Cake Woman was talking to Elise, but with her back to me I couldn’t hear anything over the roar of a bar full of patrons and juke box music.

Dean and Renee had called during the day while I waited, and I mentioned that I had an unexpectedly nice time at my sister’s house in Iowa.

“Was everyone well lubricated?” Dean asked, which is a reasonable question. The holidays are stressful for everyone and booze is glorious. However, the Iversons do not really partake. I had a half of a juice glass of wine and John had considerably more, but overall it was a sober affair with tired adults and happy kids. Ellen practically begged me to stay, but I drove home through thick fog and black night anyway. I had joked over and over again that sleeping in Iowa was like Persephone eating the pomegranite seeds. Before going I had been sure that Ellen had invited me under duress, but she just missed me like I miss her.

So Friday my mom met my girlfriend, Saturday I saw my sister for the second time in a year and a half, and Sunday I spent alone until Cake Woman rescued me and plied me with alcohol — but I was kind of numb all weekend, just coasting through presents and driving. When Cake Woman left for home this morning everything that I had been pushing down and ignoring surged over me. When Melody came on IM late in the afternoon I sort of lost my shit. I talked, she listened, and then I laid down for a while.

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