One Night Only

Absence is one of the most useful ingredients of family life, and to do it rightly is an art like any other. ~ Freya Stark

As I write this, I have returned a day early from an ill-fated trip to Boston with my brother. One day I’ll write about what all went down, or maybe I won’t – that’s one of the hazards of having a writer in the family – writers don’t forget. For now, it will suffice that I’m back home, and the next time I go to Boston it will be alone or with Andy. The unfortunate thing about family, especially for a control freak, is that you have no choice or say in the matter, and that goes both ways – I am certain none of these people would have chosen me either. After years of trying to reconcile this, after years of fighting against it and trying every conceivable way in the world to make something work, to make myself the slightest bit lovable, it’s time to move on.

For his noble efforts in picking me up (and beating the storm), I bought a bouquet of pink hyacinths for Andy. When the family that God grants us disappoints or doesn’t care, we have to create our own. Over the past twenty years, I have unwittingly done that, and, as witnessed on nights like the last, they have never let me down. It’s a strange thing when the ones who are supposed to love you simply don’t – or can’t – and it creates all sorts of fucked-up ailments and afflictions that in turn tend to drive people even further away. Luckily, there has always been someone else to step in, to see through the hurt, to forge ahead into the heart because they knew there was love to be found. And when there’s no familial bond keeping them there, when you see they are there in your life because they want to be, and you don’t have to keep asking and begging and making all the effort yourself, they are all the more dear.

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