This will be less than eloquent. And decades in the making.
I drank too much gin, two strong tonics, alone at home two nights ago. It’s self-medication, I know that, a response to the tired felt in body and passion. And I did something mean-spirited and unlike me, I know that. Sent an e-mail to an ex-sister-in-law. I have two of them, neither I’ve missed much. I wasn’t kind in my short message, the first in over a year or maybe two (I don’t keep track of such nonsense things). I asked when she planned to screw over the man she ran too after flying away from 13 years of marriage, on the sly and her then husband’s dime and with the diamond ring he bought her. Absolutely cunty and out of character for me, I know that. I can't and don't want to know what happened on the inside, the implosion, but I know she wasn’t there as the house was foreclosed on, or to watch me bring sandwiches and paper cups of miso soup in the hopes he’d put something on the alcohol in his stomach. She ran as I wondered who would heal after another agonizing rip in the family seam and who wouldn't. Myself included. Thought she was a friend, and she left me too.
She didn't see a lot.
She’s never had to fend for herself, really. She won’t tell you that, instead insist on stories of strife and suffering. She was never as put-upon as she believed herself to be. Mostly she was dead.
She probably should have run.
Her reply the next morning to sober eyes, the first of three e-mails, gave the impression she’d changed. Felt bad I’d let something out-of-control in me release pent up anger. Half a bottle of Tanqueray went down the sink that day. Thought for a moment she’d come away from the chaos like he did. I reacted sadly to the zinger tucked in that first note, a tactic employed by most of the women in my family. Passive aggression is an art form.
I typed back nothing, more embarrassed at my own behavior than anything. Then a second e-mail moments later destroyed me. Briefly. A man cheats on his woman and she first asks, “What does she look like?” A woman cheats on her man, he only wants to know how big the other guys dick is. Insecure woman call out and shine a light on the flaws they most fear in themselves. I attacked first because I'm jealous of women who seek a man to make all the bad go away. I've never been helpless, or allowed to be. To retaliate, she turned the blade where it hit major organs to call me fat, belittle my relationships and sing-song 80's clichés like the really bad blonde Heather.
Know what's not passive aggressive? Fuck and you. Fu-huhu-huhu-huhu-you.
And fuck those who hold you up for a time, offer shelter on their terms only to later reveal arms covered in barbed wire. Who allow no mistakes and demand apologies for what they think is wrong with you, but never accept them anyway.
I’ve got magic beans, women who talk to me in truth, raise an eye when I behave badly but allow me to move past it. And men who stand by me, not over me. A family of friends who don’t allow my wonder and joy to be fouled by latent unhappiness and joy in others suffering.