Behind blue eyes

Poor Ms. Ellie.

She’s been gone for months, abroad, out in the real world.

Lost on muddy Welsh backroads while tending a herd of endangered goats, stranded with drugdealers and gunrunners in southern Italy… Haggling for a room with a view in Istanbul. She told me they all watched her there, her and her friend. All the men. Not in any deliberately creepy or evil sort of way. In fact, they were more polite than the Western Europeans by far, she said. They simply stared, without malice or shame, at the two bareheaded American girls, so pale and foreign. As if one didn’t feel alien enough already in a place like that. Strange city, I’ve heard. It’s been going downhill steadily since the fourth crusade.

I imagine what it must be like, to be gone for so long and to have to come home to fucking Christmas of all things. America’s darkest god damn hour. Wide-eyed windburned road-weary Ms. Ellie opens up that big metaphorical door marked Home, letting in the always-harsh light of day, and low-and-behold she catches us all screeching and moaning and clawing, pants around our ankles, doing the sticky and unspeakable holiday things we Consumers do best. What a terrible fucking thought.

What a nightmare, to go out and see the distant, weird corners of the world and to come home to a nation in uproar because Britney’s sixteen year old sister is knocked up. THROW UP YOUR HANDS IN AMAZEMENT folks, it turns out white trash teenagers from Louisiana get pregnant out of wedlock. Who could have predicted that, you know? My whole world has turned upside down.

I saw it when she walked in the front door. Everyone’s hugging and jabbering and telling her about some new fucking Youtube video or that Brangelina adopted everyone in Rwanda under the age of 12 or that we might have a Mormon president next year… For just a moment, just a moment, her shoulders sag and the lights go out of her eyes. For just a moment. God, who can blame her.

Welcome home, I say. Thanks, she says. I can’t believe you fucking came back.

She doesn’t say it, of course, but neither can she.

“Ohmygoshellie, you missed these two parties where this guy Mark who used to go out with Jamie, Julia’s friend, was hitting on this other girl who went to UOP with them and he comes up and is”
Don’t unpack, I want to scream. Just turn right the fuck around. Run for it. You can be back in the air in three hours, and across the international date line by sunset. Break your cellphone, dye your hair, and never ever look back.

I’ll hold back the freaks while you make your escape.

———————-

December is a terrible time to be alive. It’s cold and evil and expensive as hell, full of distant relations and acres of tacky wrapping paper.

Today was the big family get together, of which I will say little. Instead, I will list our conversational topics (in no particular order) which were covered at length, as they are every year. Draw your own conclusions.

1) Mistakes made by the Dallas Cowboys Coaching Staff.
2) Locations of new Michael’s and Kohl’s stores in the Sacramento region.
3) Things that happened at Church.
4) Minorities and the Gang Violence they cause.
5) Relatives who have died since last Christmas.
6) Trevor, why aren’t you married yet?
7) Taxidermy.

I will say, however, that this year’s was relatively quick and painless. Especially compared to last year’s twenty hour high-intensity Familython. I even received a book on human evolution from a cousin, which is sort of like receiving a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. from David Duke. In a way it gives you hope for the future, but mostly it just freaks you out.

-T.

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