My father and half-brother are coming to visit me for the first time. Pretty much ever. Of course I wound up painting the storage unit, powerwashing both halves of the duplex and touching up all the trim in the bathroom. Worked until nine.
I’m obsessing about my house. I would give damn near anything to have gotten the living room painted before they get here. I’m still kind of freaking out that I haven’t hemmed the curtains in the living room. I also need to clean the house (I always need to clean the house) and pick up…um…something. I’m sure my house is incomplete somehow.
I think the reason I am so keyed up about how my house looks is mostly my stepmother. The house my dad and brother used to live in was perfectly decorated, with every tiny accessory fitting the theme. Like, the pictures on the walls were of that room. The sun porch was red and white stripes with watermelon decorations. The family room was that “patriotic fake handicraft” shit. My bedroom was fluffy apricot eyelet lace. I fucking hated that house.
She and my dad finally split up this year, and I don’t know much more than that. I don’t care if I ever see her again. She was verbally and emotionally abusive, particularly to me. I used to visit for up to eight weeks in the summers as a teenager, and it was not a pretty sight. I’m sure I wasn’t exactly easy to deal with at that age either, but that doesn’t excuse the way I was treated.
Also, the favoritism was pretty dramatic. One example: when I graduated from high school, I got a fairly nice gold watch and a laundry bag with “Western Oregon State University” embroidered on it. (It was called Western Oregon State College when I enrolled, and two years later became Western Oregon University. There has never been a “Western Oregon State University”) My brother? Got a sports car.
[edit: My brother informs me this is and always has been Dad’s car. My stepmom told me it was his graduation gift. I’m not sure what the fuck to make of that. He did confirm the “sweet golf cart” though.]
I never really held it against him. He was always pretty nice to me, barring the usual bratty sibling shit. Like when he re-worked the lyrics to Runaway Train to make fun of how fat my ass was (not that I’m bitter). But other than that, he was all right. I can’t exactly say we were close, because we were both only children almost 9 months of the year. We used to watch movies together, especially Dirty Dancing. We went through a phase where we watched that damn movie every single weekend. Even now, we text each other whenever we run across it on tv.
The last time I saw him was 1999. He had just graduated from high school, the same day I’d finished college. I flew out for his party, saw him once or twice. None of his friends knew he had a sister, and there were no pictures of me in the entire house. In fact, my stepmother presented me with a bag of all my baby pictures, right up through the pictures my dad took when he’d come for my high school graduation. I’m serious, she’s a fucking actual honest to god wicked stepmother! Maybe that’s why I make a good princess.
I only started texting with him two years ago, after Isaac died. Yes, it actually took a dead baby to get my family to talk to me (I’ve been calling, sending cards, etc, for years, to anyone whose address I had). By then I’d already gone through tons of therapy, so I have just been grateful for what I have. Which is a few texts, a handful of phone calls and the movie The Aristocrats, which you should watch right now if you haven’t seen it.
I haven’t even mentioned my dad yet. I guess there hasn’t been a lot of reason to. I had been dating Chip for two years before my dad remembered his name. Oh, I haven’t mentioned my brother’s name yet, have I? Its fucking Chip. Which was plenty weird enough for me at first! But really? I know virtually nothing about him, other than he likes to golf. I remember him coming home from the office in a suit, then changing in to a polo shirt. I remember him golfing on most days he didn’t go to the office. He had a woodshop, and every time I smell sawdust I think of it. I never felt like he was really interested in me. When I was nine years old and Mom moved us to Oregon, he told me that I was responsible for keeping in touch with him. He never called.
I finally stood up for myself after Isaac died; I told my father that his absence hurt me a lot, and that I was hurt and angry. When he asked for another chance, I said he would have to call me regularly, make an effort to know me. And, to be fair, he has kept it up 100%. He made sure to call even when he was sick in the hospital for weeks (long story, he’s ok now), and he replies every time I send him a picture of the boy. Around the same time, I started hearing from Brother Chip. And now they’re going to be here in two days.
I don’t even know how I feel. I’m obsessive compulsive about my mismatched and oft-messy house, but I don’t feel much else. I am looking forward to getting to know them. Since this is the first time they’ve ever come to my turf, maybe we can finally establish relationships beyond short texts and awkward calls. Maybe I’m too afraid to hope for something as crazy and unrealistic as that. I don’t know. You’d think it would be awkward putting all this out on my blog, especially since my brother’s on Facebook. Yet it isn’t. I can’t imagine that they’d bother to read it.