Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong

(Sorry for the late post! I tried to do it last night from the train to NYC but the wifi wouldn’t work. I arrived in the city at 3am, and when I got to where I’m crashing I fell asleep before I got it live. Then this morning we had to rush out to Brooklyn for the timed entry to the David Bowie exhibit which ends this weekend. I’m so glad I went. Lots to think about–I’m still processing it. And then straight to see part one of the Harry Potter play. So this is my first chance with real wifi to post it! Much love to all and apologies I’m as flakey as Daron when it comes to remembering the days of the week. -ctan)

Ziggy and I moved into the motel when we got back. I had been expecting a Motel 6 on the highway or something, but it was actually a mom and pop place on a county road not far from a tiny vestige of a downtown. From our room’s window you could see the outline of a couple of buildings still standing around the former train station like Stonehenge or something.
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Death’s Door

You haven’t felt helpless until you’ve stood outside a door marked Ladies–with your soulmate and the man who raised you–waiting to find out if your mother keeled over and died in a truck stop bathroom stall.

I mean, she was probably fine, but…
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Breathe Deeply Now

I don’t know why everything involving my family required a negotiation. Agreeing on who was going in which car to Pizza Hut could be more complicated than the Warsaw Pact. Actually, I do know why: it’s because Claire could never just let anything happen. She had to be managing everything, all the time. When we were kids I guess it just seemed natural that our mother was bossing us around constantly, telling us where (and how) to sit, what to do, what not to do, etc.

As adults it was more glaringly obvious. Especially when that adult was Remo and he was trying to change lanes on the highway.
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Enter Sandman

That night, to avoid tantrums on the part of any of the adults or children in the house, the compromise was that Landon would build a pillow fort in the living room and sleep in there, and I’d tell him a bedtime story.

I lay down on the floor partly under the coffee table with him and read him a Dr. Seuss book. I don’t remember which one. (Not the one that Bart’s stage name comes from–that I would’ve remembered.) Continue Reading »

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Somebody to Shove

Sunday afternoon we got good news from the motel where Remo was staying: they’d have vacancy starting in the morning.

Around the time Landon, Ziggy, and me were doing our best to eat the rest of the donuts (while they were still fresh, of course), Janine started making noise about Landon needing to sleep in the living room.

“Why?” I asked. “He won’t bother us if he’s up in the top bunk. It’s not like we’re going to keep him awa–”
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Keep the Faith

Claire, it turned out, did expect us all to go to church. You might think she’d be down on church after having married a preacher who then cheated on her and dropped her like a hot potato when he found out she was terminally ill…? But I had a feeling she’d want us to go, because waking people up at the crack of eight to demand they get dressed up was the sort of thing she’d do.
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Dramarama/Haven’t Got a Clue

Janine came home while we were sitting in the kitchen. Ziggy excused himself to bed and Janine took his place at the table.

“Here.” I got up and retrieved a tea cup for her, and then poured some from the pot. “How was work?”

“All right.” She accepted the cup somewhat warily.

“It’s okay,” I said. “It’s a peace offering, not a trap.”
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Faith No More

That night Ziggy and I were lying in bed in Landon’s room while waiting for Janine to come home. It had been an exhausting day and we really hadn’t done anything. Just dealing with other people’s emotions all day was enough to wear us out, I guess.
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Digging in the Dirt

So this is how I met my nephew Landon. Sitting in the waiting room of a hospital. Remo had driven Janine home to have a nap while Ziggy and I stayed at the ER. By the time we got there Claire had been insisting that we not fuss over her, but in that way that I took to mean she actually really wanted us to fuss over her but she of course couldn’t come out and say that.

The doctors decided to take her for some tests, so I stayed, and so Ziggy stayed. Ziggy seemed determined to read every word of an issue of Vogue in the waiting room. I had started trying to read something but in the end I just sat there, staring at the clock on the wall and thinking. Eventually I went to the nurse’s station and asked them if I could borrow a rubber band, and I was doing my finger exercises when Remo returned, carrying Landon.

“This is your uncle Daron,” he said, lowering the kid to the floor in front of me.

“Hi,” I said.

Landon was shy for about two seconds. Then he put a frown on his little face. “What are you doing?”
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It’s A Shame (My Sister)

I sat down at the kitchen table. Remo poured me some coffee and Ziggy poured in the cream and pushed the cup toward me. I wrapped my fingers around it.

“You look shell-shocked, kiddo,” Remo said.

“What the fuck was that all about?” I tried drinking the coffee to see if anything would start to make sense.
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