Usually on a Saturday I exchange emails with my sister, about the weather and our gardens and husbands, anything worth mentioning from work and our father's latest adventures, maybe a bit about our latest doctor's visits. We pretend to get on well but never have.
Secretly, I think that for both of us this is the subconscious continuation of all our failed communication efforts with our mother. The thing is, if I don't write she gets worked up worrying about my miserable health and will have sleepless nights and it will be All My Fault. And that of course, is just another subconscious continuation of my vast scope of guilty feelings (of which I have truckloads). We both know, our sharpest weapon is the purposeful generation of guilt.
Without getting too nasty here, I must add that she gets enormous mileage from my being ill. On the rare occasions when I meet any of her friends, they are usually amazed that I walk and talk and look pretty normal. The heavens only know what she tells them.
My family, the one I grew up in, has not been a happy one. Strange as it may sound, it feels good to be able to write this and I have also said it out loud and in company. And for this and many more sins I must have committed since I moved away and failed to return, I am not included in the inner circle and rarely get invited to the various family dinners and celebrations. But as a rule, I am told about them well in advance and afterwards with details about food and wine and the glowing lists of recent shiny achievements of my blood relatives.
Over the years, this has become quite normal and I am sure by now they don't even realise how odd it is to be told that "the whole family" is going to or was having a great time celebrating this or that or whatever in great style.
My friends, however, are outraged and furious that I am so lenient, while I try and convince them that this is just the way we are, That this family is clumsy, competitive, mean. That we know how to dish it out without noticing, that we have sharp elbows, are quick with a little slap here and there, but always so it doesn't show in the morning.
Anyway, this Saturday, I am not going to write that email. I am taking a break. Stuff happened. I try to sort it out in my mind and one minute it looks ridiculously minor and maybe just the usual daft and careless stuff, but then again, it gets bigger and nasty and rude and all that shit.