The decorations are stored away for another year and the house is feeling ‘normal’ again. It’s funny how outwardly things can remain the same, but inside, where it matters, nothing is ever stagnant.
This year’s family event was much easier to handle than 2013. The uproar about my books has died down and while most of my family is convinced I’m going to hell on a fast track, they’ve decided to let the subject go…for the time being. I have little doubt it will make the rounds again, but this year all was calm.
They’d found a new victim to annihilate. My sister was their whipping boy. I sat there silently while my brother berated her. It was like a car accident unfolding before your eyes. You want to stop it, several scenarios flash through your head, but are discarded immediately. Would they make the situation worse? Would it draw more attention? Would they dig their heels in and go for the jugular?
Once wounded, the vultures circled and each took a turn picking away at her. It was unpleasant to watch, painful even. Now she isn’t a nice woman. She’s been leader of the pack attacking others, with a voraciousness that’s truly startling, ever since I was a teenager. She’s turned her forked tongue on me more than once, but to see her standing there confused and out of her element hurt.
I couldn’t defend her. She’d brought the dog pile down on herself, though I don’t believe it had been intentional on her part.
The only thing I could do was deflect the attention. Ignoring the byplay and the tears slowly tracking down my sister’s face, I turned to my brother. “Did you hear I have a new book series coming out in March? It’s about a serial killer that rapes and murders women over a twenty year span. I think it will be a big hit. It comes out in March. Isn’t that when you’re going deep sea fishing in Mexico?”
After a few moments of stunned silence, the conversation turned to fishing. My sister shuffled out of the room and I hit the dessert table. I deserved a few pieces of chocolate after wading through that mess.
Now that the event is over and everyone is back to their daily grind everything appears to be business as usual. We’re one big happy family. No lasting grudges.
But in my heart I know my time will come around again. I’ll be the poor shmuck in the barrel. Each time they tear each other down, a piece of me dies, a portion of the love I feel for the family is tarnished. At this point, the emotion is so dull it barely resembles the radiant shine it once had.
The crazy part is these are happy people. They have successful marriages, prosperous careers, good kids and yet they feel the need to snipe away at the ones they love. I don’t get it.
The next family event is in February. In the meantime, I guess I’d better get out the buffer, find some polishing compound, and put a shine on this mess.