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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Sorry, aunt MT

Today's post is brought to you by thoughts about gratitude. 

I was out all day with aunt A, shopping. Except for one item, everything we purchased was for me and it was quite a lot if I do say so myself. We had gone there initially just to fetch a few things we'd left behind which would have an added discount today. Before we got to that aunt A suggested we look around the other stores and it all resulted in no less than three bags' worth of new clothes for me (in addition to the ones I bought yesterday with my Christmas gift certificates). I thanked aunt A every time when she paid. Not effusively, I don't know how. I just thanked her and made a tiny intuitive curtsy that made her think I was looking at the floor. I remembered to thank uncle A when he got home, and I showed him the purchases.  It's not that I don't mean my thanks... I'm grateful for their letting me stay with them, for their buying me clothes, paying for tuition, driving me around, inviting me to dine in restaurants... I'm grateful. They didn't have to and yet they did. It's not that it's pointless or useless. Not in the least. Something unknown to me*cripples my ability to be properly grateful and I'm sorry. For what it's worth, let it go down in writing in the blog: thanks aunt A and uncle A. 

I don't know to what extent it was his idea, after all his suggestions that I might need new clothes. Every time I said I don't need new clothes. The ones I have are still in good shape and if I've had enough to go about for six months, between that and the clothes I had from before I'm well set for another six months. Any and all purchases beyond that point are the shopping equivalent of gluttony. I have to admit I made very conscious choices to buy things for A and my sister. I have to admit I made two silly purchases (with the gift certificates) I regret and will likely have to return if my pride doesn't get in the way. 

Before dinner, my parents called. They were with aunt MT. When the conversation was over aunt MT said she loved me very much and I deliberately withheld from saying "I love you too" (if only because it would have been polite in an I-don't-want-to-hurt-her-feelings kind of way). The reason I held back is that walls are paper thin and the last thing I need is aunt A hearing me say such things to aunt MT. Aunt A resents aunt MT. She probably has since forever, but it's now accentuated by the fact that I'm visibly happier and nicer around aunt MT. This is not on purpose. It has to do with the fact that aunt MT is like a second mother to me: she looks after me, she tries to spoil me with little (and often bigger than she can afford) gestures, she's sweet and gentle and reasonable all at once. Aunt A, on the other hand, can (and will) turn an otherwise average conversation about shopping centres into one about terrorist attacks and death. I can see aunt A try to be funny but I don't quite share her sense of humour and more often than not find her jokes a bit on the offensive side. My demeanour around one is ease  and around the other it's masked discomfort.

Well... after dinner I shut myself up in my room far earlier than usual. I know it was too early because by the time I was out of the bathroom (after changing into my pyjamas, brushing my teeth and indulging in compulsive face picking) I noticed it wasn't even time for uncle A to go to bed yet. I haven't gone out. I haven't drank the water I have in a glass next to me though I'm a little thirsty so I don't even have to go to the bathroom. The cat is keeping me company. When she gets up, ready to leave, I'll have to escort her to the garage. Until then, I'm staying quiet and finding ways to keep myself entertained (not at all busy) while online. 

I know it's wrong, it's not that I don't. After all that's happened, the least I could do is try to be in the common areas a bit more. But I don't watch television, I already had dinner in the kitchen, put my plate away, followed aunt A's advice on what else to eat with a sandwich and failed to tell aunt MT "I love you too."

Thus, my reaction to being called cold is to grow colder. Several different types of wrong, innit?

I can't even clean the house because there are always people around and I prefer to indulge in cleaning sprees when I'm alone. Even if it means ugly scars on my fingers from battles lost against shattered glass. 

And what does cleaning the house have to do with anything? I have no idea. It's not a sign of gratitude anyone here will notice (or ever has, for that matter). How about cooking? I... er... well, I cooked a little for aunt A on new year's eve. I could make roasted chickpeas again and... er... fuck all else because cooking for these folks is so fucking hard. 

How about quality time spent with them? 

You can probably tell the idea is not very appealing. Making myself sit through dinner (though it mostly consisted on sitting at the table with uncle A reading from his computer while aunt A cooked) somehow resulted in not wanting to leave my room, regardless of necessary bodily functions. 

I can't believe I didn't tell aunt MT "I love you too." And that's the one thing I feel horrible about. 

Crying, I'm afraid, is the sort of thing that would make me have to go fetch toilet paper to blow my nose with and therefore can't be afforded. This post ends here.

* No it doesn't. What holds me back , I think, is the fact that so much about my interactions with uncle A and aunt A feels like it's all part of a contract. I give them two years of my life, they try to take a lot more than that and control my choices along the way. I agree to study what they offer and I'm stuck following whatever path they decided is the right one. Somehow, when they're trying to be nice, it only feels like they're overcompensating for how much I've given up. Like they're buying me, my obedience, my freedom.

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