Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pleasantries

No matter what I do and regardless of how content I may feel something will get on me and drive me down.

Tonight was no exception.

Although I was busy mom interrupted me this afternoon to ask that I prepare a check to pat a bill for one of my brothers. I did it that night and I wrote the check for a few dollars more than the bill requested. (It’s something I usually do as a sign of good faith and it’s usually good to leave a bit of credit on the bill whenever possible).

As I was trying to finish some typing at 10 she barges into the bedroom screaming.

“Why did you pay so much on the check?!”

I explained to her quietly and calmly that it’s something I always do as a sign of good faith, etc.

“Why are you gifting the clothing store so much? They just take the money and run! Don’t you know that by now!!!”

Naturally her yelping woke my brother up; the one whose bill I was taking care of and who was trying to get some rest before getting up at 4am.

My attempt to explain again was rebuffed anew. This time, she took the check and emphatically tore it up while admonishing me for my check-writing abilities.

By then I wanted to scream at her not so much because I could have been wrong but due to her taking such a simple task and blowing it way out of proportion. I am the one whose job is to pay the bills and I write out roughly 6-7 per month. I never get thanked for what I do.

What also perturbed me was that yet again she took me for granted. For the past 32 months I have sacrificed far too much of my sanity and well-being for her and the good of my family. Most of the time I don’t mind doing so and I realize that it’s a task thrust upon me since dad died. Yet a little gratitude can go a long way; a simple “thank you” can suffice. There’s no need to scold me like a toddler or yell like a banshee if I make a mistake on a silly task. I have to endure this huge burden of stress and responsibility upon me and it’s unfair to have to be treated as if I were an immature, unkempt child.

Ultimately I decided to throw in the towel and not refute her anymore. I interrupted her scolding, told her I would write a check, and promised her that I would take care of it. She kept up with her nagging though my calm assurances finally convinced her stop and she left the room.

Mom has gone through countless emotional outbreaks since dad passed away three years ago this September. Even when they would argue he served as her emotional keystone; one which was removed when he died. Though my brothers and I try our best to replace that keystone it’s just not the same. No matter what we do she will never recover from the mighty blow she received from his death. All we can try to do is lessen it as best as possible.

Unfortunately, my sympathy is tempered with rage; a tempestuous anger thriving off of stresses big and small. 9 times out of ten my calm demeanor really reflects the tranquility and rationality I feel. Yet there are occasions like tonight when it is merely a fa├žade; a mask which hides my sorrows, rage, and disappointment. I would have loved to scream back at her and quell some of the rage that had built up in me. Doing so would have been fatal since she would’ve lashed out with even more anger and alibis, justified or otherwise. It would’ve shattered her own emotional state and brought forth who knows what. I did not fight fire with fire and though emerged burned it could’ve been worse.

Rarely are the occasions when I curse at my father whose soul is in the heavens above. I wonder why he had to go and leave me stuck with such an enigma. What did I do to deserve someone so loving and kind yet also so paranoid and crazed? In the end, whether I like it or not, whether I am happy or sad, calm or enraged this is what I have to live with. I have no other option but dutifully accept the positive with the negative and hope that the future can be better.

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