In Which I Manage To Break An Already Broken Family

Daniel’s father re-married a woman who has a daughter. Her name is Courtney. Courtney is about my age and still lives with their father and Daniel’s step mother. For reasons that were never explained, Courtney had her mail forwarded to our house whenever her parents left for trips to Florida. Maybe she worried about having her own mail sent out-of-state and found it easier to pick up her letters at her brother’s place.

Getting Courtney’s mail was not exactly easy because I had to remember to tell her it arrived and have it arranged to be picked up. Sometimes Daniel didn’t want any company and would be loafing around in his bath robe – not a scene I would invite company over for. Even so, we made the best of it and eventually her parents would be back from Florida and her mail would go back to her house again.

This time, I thought her parents were back from Florida. They were all together for Thanksgiving in Michigan. During the dinner, unfortunately, there was a heated discussion and Daniel became vocal about whatever topic had been raised. Allegedly a few women excused themselves in order to gain distance from the table. I wasn’t there, but I heard later on that it was considered a “blow-out” and I instantly stopped hearing from Courtney.

We had literally texted about watching the parade from our own televisions before I’d sent her a photo of the breakfast scramble Daniel had surprised me with. I sent him off later that day with a chardonnay bundt cake and had asked Courtney to tell me if it was well received, as I’d be working and missing out on the occasion. Everything was fine until the argument.

Daniel had collected the bundt cake on his way home and neglected to retrieve the Christmas present Courtney had given him hours before. I came home from work and saw my baked good in the refrigerator. Later on Daniel told me what had happened. It was disheartening but I couldn’t change the past.

Courtney refrained from contacting Daniel, and from contacting me. All of the thoughtful text messages, social networking and phone calls stopped. I waited in silence to see if she wondered if he was okay, if there was anything she could do. I waited for her to ask me if I knew what had happened, but she offered absolutely nothing… and meanwhile, her mail continued to arrive.

One day I finally sent her a link about correcting the technical issue. Wanting a prompt response, I thought I could save her a trip to the post office so I gave her the link to the USPS site where she could correct her mail route. I never heard back. Not a “thank you, I’ve been busy” or a “hey is something wrong”. Nothing. Silence.

Several days after that, Daniel got a call from another family member who told him that Courtney had read my text, assumed it meant that Daniel didn’t want her mail there anymore, burst in to tears and phoned her mother – who was already back in Florida. I had no idea they had only come home for the holiday (which meant that Courtney had still intended to forward her mail). In reaction to the misunderstanding, Courtney blocked us on her phone. We were officially bad guys to an entire side of his family and apparently excommunicated. Just like that.

All because I had cleaned up the kitchen, looked at a letter and decided that I didn’t want Courtney dragging her feet on getting her mail routed correctly. It was admittedly one more thing I didn’t want to deal with, especially after the sort of shouting that alarmed people and would probably require considerable time and healing. Misinformed, I had sent the USPS link to her at a bad time when I hadn’t done any following up on my end. Instead I was fueled by the bad vibes from her unexplained silence and the worry of how to get the mail to her.

It looked like we were saying, “And one more thing. Stop sending your mail here. Buh Bye”. Like it was somehow related to Daniel’s argument, or maybe just its own isolated moment of dismissal.

We were still Facebook friends. I told Courtney that I was sorry, that I didn’t know her parents were still away. I said that my comment about her mail was not associated with Dan in any way. I apologized for the way it all seemed and I mentioned that she didn’t exactly help matters with a complete lack of communication. I was blocked within 24 hours.

The whole thing has made my connection to Courtney seem artificial. Everything was great as long as she was happy. Now I’m nothing. I wanted the mail thing settled. I wanted her to say something about the dinner but she offered nothing. She could have at least corrected me about her parents being back in Florida – I would have been willing to work something else out. Surely I didn’t cause everything myself. I wasn’t even THERE that day…

Seriously, what just happened? I’m torn between feeling bad and feeling like it was a casualty of circumstance. Was I supposed to act like my boyfriend had done something to the rest of them? Was I expected to ask the questions? Is that the side I was supposed to take? And if that’s the extreme reaction, how much should I let this shit bother me?

I’m no longer “the young girl who came out of nowhere who couldn’t possibly hold substance”. Now I’m “the nasty, young girl who came out of nowhere who couldn’t possibly hold substance”.

Awesome.