“Oh, this is cute!” My mom remarks, reaching out for the silver Hello Kitty necklace. A green emerald sparkled from Kitty’s bow as she perched on a four-leaf clover. (Couldn’t let Ma leave without a trip to the Japanese party store.)
“Ooooh. I want this,” I quickly realized, noting the clover’s extra leaf and hence, no reference to a religious trinity. This was pure charm and immediately going around my Irish neck. Fastened to an organic, green cord, once the charm wore off it supposedly brought good luck.
Then I saw some stickers that featured baby seals positioned in and around frosted doughnuts and pastries, an uncomfortable balance between “I’m sweet like these treats” and “I’m buried in this cupcake and about to have my head bitten off”.
“These, too!” and into Mama’s cart they went.
Worrying about my family’s temperament and susceptibility to dense traffic, there was a lot of stress on me, last weekend. Metro Detroit was not always kind: their hotel attempted to charge them each $12 for grabbing a yogurt or coffee from the breakfast bar, the multiple lanes most certainly intimidated my mother and I was on constant alert to deflect the foolishness.
“The chef didn’t lift a finger for us and no where on that buffet sign does it mention these cold cart items. You need to adjust this to a continental rate, thanks.”
“I’ll come over early and just lead you guys to the outlet.”
Then there was the pressure to find good restaurants, look presentable and actually entertain. Mom mentioned, again, how my “purse”, which is more a bag than a purse, looks like something a homeless person would carry around:
I like it because it’s soft, holds a foot-long sub sammich and I can drop my hand held video game stuff in there without concern. Mom thinks I need a small shiny thing for credit cards and lipstick – but that all fits in there, too!
Despite the challenges, I was entirely thankful for their Easter visit. They came down right when my working life was incredibly tense so I was able to check into their hotel and leave my stress four floors down.
Then My Guy grilled Easter dinner at our place and didn’t monitor his beer/vodka consumption. I ended up taking on a hell of a lot of responsibility in the kitchen, listening to Guy repeat a few glory day stories before he got too nauseous to host. My brother was playing old CDs too loud and I suddenly felt a tremendous weight on my heart.
Boiling in the whirlpool later on, I see the heat getting to Christopher. He had kept up with Guy but his conversation was slowing down.
Then his jokes tapered off. The timer on the jets stopped and it was like sitting in a quiet bathtub. He took his arms out of the water, rested them along the cement deck and closed his eyes for a moment.
“Do you ever wish you could just go back?”
The impact of that – the earthquake, the ruptures in my heart, the silent fright of some subconscious transcendence – would not make it to my face.
“Heck no, Chris. We’re having a good time right now and we’re going to have more good times, later.”
There was a lot of shit to pack on my own that night, everything I had brought along for hanging at the Hilton. The bags were heavy and I was wondering if my mom would understand her directions home. I would be hard at work in a few hours, major remodeling. And Christopher had to take it there, those end notes in reference to overall dysfunction and despair.
I was wired, maxed out, shaken.
Dead wrong, I thought to myself, looking up at their window from the rainy parking lot.
My stress is four floors high.