Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Best Gift

I can’t stand the holidays. The people, the screaming kids, the getting in trouble for breaking toys I wasn’t even touching. Granted I haven’t had that happen in ages I think however that it just kills my mom that she can’t yell at me for anything anymore. It was a great stress buster. Focused all her stress and anger in to her son. Now is she hit me I’d hit back. Well maybe not but I’d do something and she knows it.

I like my parents. I think they are pretty neat. As far as people go my Mom is a stand up woman, who knows how to take down any opposition. I think she might even be a witch. I didn’t get that power. I don’t like them when it comes to my personal life or the holidays. Once again the whole family came here.
My folks are both from big families. I can’t count all my cousins. I haven’t even met about a fourth of them. If I have I was young and don’t remember. So today there are fifteen guests. Aunts, cousins, their kids and an uncle. And I am proud to say I made dinner. The pies, the salads, the sides, the deserts. Mom is making bread and Dad is grilling the steaks. We’re waiting for Nacho who apparently is coming with his fiancé. If he comes he’ll probably come alone.
I won’t get any credit for the meal. My mom is making bread, and my dad is grilling the steaks. So my Dad will get the credit.
When I think things couldn’t get more frustrating my brother brings his partner. Clark. The smarmy bitch is about flash and glitter and every body loves him. Okay he’s funny but what else is there that charm. Oh yeah his fancy car and tales of stars. He’s written six hit movies, or so he says and somehow that has made him able to have more money than a Banking Exec.
The kids have taken over the tv so my one retreat, my buddy, my best friend is busy. So I’m sitting here waiting for the potatoes to finish baking. And I’ll put the pie in. I tried Alton Brown’s recipe right down to the four different types of apples. I think it’ll be good. Not that anyone will care. They’ll want ice cream or cheese to melt on it. Barbarians.
Clark comes in and smiles at me. I do that annoying chin lift that dudes do to say hey. The Bro Kiss. I watch him go back in the room with everyone. God I wish I could be more like that. Hell being rich wouldn’t even be needed if I could just charm my way into the lives of others. He asks me where the pop is, walk him to it. If I said the garage he might get lost, wander into Wonderland, or some such nonsense. He’d become King probably. He tries to talk to me, I remain noncommittal. He’s not evil so much as everything I want to be. Normally I try harder to be decent. It’s not his fault I suck at being people.  His mere existence, however reminds me that I’ve done nothing but mess my life up.
We navigate the labyrinth of years past and I show him the two fridges full of various types of beverages carbonated to “freshly squeezed” or so labeled.
My mom tells me to put the pie in about a half hour too early, I was going to wait until we actually started but she insisted and as we unwrapped the gifts I couldn’t keep my mind off the pie. How could I keep it at the right temperature.
My mom loved the Shoes I gave her. My brother looked at me. I had no shame in saying out loud, “she asked for them.” Fuck him.
Then Clark’s gift, a knife, a Shun. She was so excited she jumped up to hug him. Of course. I stopped my internet access three months ago to have money to by gifts. Sheesh.
At the end of the night everyone was happy. Clark got the kids Amazon gift cards, $50 each. And my dad got a new drill set and a lot of great tools. My mom got Clark a leather jacket and my brother a car stereo that he’d been wanting. The kids got toy’s and most of the adults got some gag gift like a case of cigaretts or a bottle of some alcohol or other. Me? Oh, I got to check the pie.
I would like to say I was mad. I would like to say I didn’t care. I gave what I could and I like that. I don’t really care to get. A small thing like a $10 iTunes card, anything that said they didn’t forget me.
I tried to be jovial as my stomach turned in self pity. I laughed with everyone and hid in plain sight. People started to leave, thank God. I did the dishes with my Mom and one of my Aunts. Then we put the movies on. Jim Freaking Carey. The only thing worse would have been Farrell.
I sit and wait. I always watch one movie with them. To show willing. They have more Desert and I start getting ready to leave. As I head out the door Clark comes up.
He walks out with me. No one thanked me, no one acknowledged my work, I cooked for two days straight. Dad did get most of the thanks and mom the rest. They cheered Clark and my brother for finding him. Not even one homophobe in the crowd. And now I can’t even leave in peace. I know it’s all selfish. I know I should be grateful for the family. Some people would love to have what I do. But I don’t fit in. Tools and basic household needs. Video games, and Jim Fricken Carey. I’m not like these people but damn at least notice me.
“Hey, I have something for you.”
“What.” It sounded a bit harsh.
“I ordered it a bit late and with everything I didnt’ get it wrapped.” he went to his car and pulled out an box. He actually looked a little insecure.
I was so not ready to get his “Just in case gift” but I took in the box. I opened it and on it was a box with a plastic Samurai Jack figurine. It was on top of four disks. One for each season. I hadn’t seen either of the last two.
“These are great. How did know I like Jack?”
“You were doing that talk to the air thing one day.” I gave him a look, “You know when you don’t think anyone is listening. It’s kinda funny. You really like these things, so I thought I’d find them. I was afraid you already had them.”
“No, I didn’t even know they had a fourth season.”
“This is great!” I hugged him. I think I even fell in love with him a little.
“Hey and thanks for all the food. I saw that you made most of it. It was good.”
I thanked him again and went home.
I still hate holidays but this one, well it was okay after all.

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