it’s never good when a girl says “we need to talk”.. . . and this isn’t going to be good. but i have to do this. i really do.
i went to florida two weeks ago with some high hopes, and i didn’t think you were going to get so . . . . well, aggressive. i was going to visit with facebook friends in tallahassee, tampa, and orlando. i was going to bring my dad justin along with me. we were going to bond. you were going to be just something i had with dinner–or before flights.
the day before the trip, my dad texted me and said he didn’t feel he was up to traveling with me from his place in tallahassee to the other cities in florida. i would stay with him and his wife on sunday evening, rent a car and sally forth throughout the state, returning on friday to catch a plane back to chicago.
but when i got to florida, i was surprised to discover that my father justin’s wife was going on a business trip. and that justin was a lot sicker than i had ever imagined. and that he was undergoing provenge treatment over the course of the week and the clinic wanted someone with him. that person would be me.
the first phase of the provenge treatment went well. justin and i watched television while his blood was taken from one arm, processed through a machine and reinserted (minus white blood cells) into the other. he was weak, he slept most of the days, he had no appetite. he slept in the master bedroom, i slept in the guest room.
his wife came home on wednesday evening. i volunteered to take justin to phase two of his provenge treatment on friday before my flight. he would be given a very high dose of benadryl and his own white blood cells–new and improved by some mysterious process–would be reintroduced to his body. he needed to have someone help him get home. also, it’s just good to have someone be an advocate for your care. especially since provenge is still in its experimental phase.
the next morning my stepmother’s first words to me were “you need to get a hotel room because i can’t sleep with justin. he snores and he disturbs my sleep. he has to sleep in the guest room.”
i felt the hostility. it’s always been there lurking beneath a surface of tight smiles–and it dates back to the total shock it must have been for her as a newlywed to have me show up saying “hi, i’m justin’s daughter!” i sympathize. i really do.
i sat at the dining room table. she woke justin and an argument ensued between them, with each hushing the other as if they believed i couldn’t hear. she wanted me out of there. right then. it went beyond a desire to not sleep with a snorer. and yes, i heard every word.
i felt rejected, belittled, demeaned, and exactly like a three year old who doesn’t understand why she can’t go home again. to her real home. why she has to be thrown away, because that’s what adoption meant to me.
and i would have left right then, walked out of the apartment and said “good luck to you guys” but i was scared of leaving my dad. she went to work. i sat on the couch with him. i said “this is exactly the horrible feeling that makes me want a drink.” and he said “me too” and he got up, went to the refrigerator and we drank two beers. it was nine thirty, alcohol, a little early wouldn’t you say? but you were there for me. and for him.
but that feeling, that wretched feeling followed me out of florida, back to illinois, everywhere i am, everywhere i go. rejected, belittled, a failure, a wreck. i’ve lost friendships, i’ve lost the respect of people i respect, i’ve lost love–the very things i have always wanted but you’re always there, aren’t you? ready to console me. ready to tell me it’s all right. ready to tell me i’m pretty and witty and funny and i mean something. and you keep saying you’ll never never leave me and i thought that was a good thing. what i’ve always wanted to hear.
but coming from you, maybe it’s not such a good thing.
i’ve tried breaking up with you before. white knuckling it. alcoholics anonymous. a chinese acupuncturist who also threw in a few extra needles that were supposed to make me lose weight in addition to sobering me up. nothing worked. you always came back and always when i really need you and can’t resist you.
this time i’m getting outside help. i’m scared. i’m crying right now as i write this. you have been a reliable friend. but i can’t do this anymore. i’m breaking up with you.
and really, it’s not you. it’s me.
when i made a new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends, i met quite a few who have made the same decision, who have had the breakup talk with you. some have been successful. some not so much. some have done it on their own. some have needed what i’m about to do. i hope all my facebook friends, all my friends, all my family can understand. alcohol, i never meant for our relationship to be so . . . monogamous.