As promised, the update on yesterday's family gathering - dual birthday party for my nephew (5) and my niece (1). I meant to update earlier but a status update seemed more appropriate - admittedly, I was a ball of nerves, and my mother wasn't helping matters any. There was much to say, much swirling around in my already-busy brain, but I figured, lemme get through the day, first - let me recuperate (with or without Lucy's 5-cent therapy) and THEN I'd write on this.
To backtrack, my sister decided to invite my mother's brother to a birthday celebration for her kids - he is a person who, just hearing his name, sets me off into a fit. We all know that she tried to get my father to chauffeur him home from the birthday party - as he would have to pass through the town the Uncle lived in on his way home. I was put in a very uncomfortable position when this originally came up and had no choice but to drop it at the time of discussion. It was either that, or open up a can of worms that I wasn't ready to open.
I agonized over this upcoming party for two months. Over seeing him, over what would happen after seeing him, over the what-if-I-lose-my-shit-publicly question. In that two months, I've had enough 'other things' happen that this just seemed - STUPID - to think about. It wasn't an easy couple months - we lost a pet, we've hit some financial hard times, and we've had to refocus on the positive things in order to make the time go by faster. The only problem with that - this party crept up quicker than I thought it would.
After my sister texted me to ask me to show up an hour early to help 'set up' for the party, I texted Oompa to ask if I'd be walking into any surprises. She'd mentioned briefly (or she might have mentioned more but whenever she says ANYTHING about her brother, I develop amnesia and out comes the usual response: 'oh, okay...') that he was back in the hospital sometime last month. I will gladly admit to you all that I HOPED this meant he wouldn't still be coming, being unhealthy and all that. Regardless, she responded to my text with, "what do you mean?"
I asked her flat-out then, "is L going to be there?"
She confirmed yes, he was still going to be in attendance. And then followed up with, "do me a favor and please just say hello to him. Then you can ignore him for the rest of the afternoon. And have the kids say hello, too."
I didn't like this AT ALL, but said I'd wave. I didn't say though, that he'd see me wave. And I told her I was NOT going to ask my kids to say hello to him. He was nobody to them - (and not for nothing, the daughter barely says hello to people she DOES know!) - and it didn't matter to me whether or not they chose to say hello - it was up to them.
She probably didn't like that at all, but said nothing more. We arrived at the party early enough to help my sister set things up. When he showed up, J made sure I was clear across the room. And my J had been asking me for weeks already - why am I even going to this thing? That kitchen confrontation between me and my parents should have resulted in a firm 'if he's going to be there, I will not be going.' And, to a point, she's right. If this was anything BUT a birthday party for my autistic nephew who would likely have been disappointed if I didn't go - I probably would have made that statement. So I said I'd go for him, for my nephew, whom I have no intention of ever disappointing - and that I'd do everything in my power to avoid my uncle and focus on the kids instead.
Which I did manage to do yesterday. I didn't say hello, I didn't make eye contact, I didn't wave, and when I saw him being 'led' around (he can't walk without assistance), I simply walked into the opposite direction. (HUGE shout-out to my cousin who unknowingly rescued me from his path by asking me if I wanted to get a cup of coffee from the dessert table! Well-timed, and well-played, cousin!)
There were times when I'd glance at him - at how pathetic he was. He looks disheveled, dirty, unshaven. Don't get me wrong, he was ALWAYS disgusting looking - more so to me than to anyone else, perhaps, but even more so now that I am grappling with whether he is responsible for the things I understand on a very deep level but cannot remember. Everything I find disgusting about him is amplified, a hundred-fold. Even the daughter wrinkled her nose at the sight of him - and the son was heard (even if only by J) calling him 'the molester' and questioning why he'd been invited. I responded to them both to simply ignore him if they wished - that was what I was doing. My guess is - they'd been told by the wasband that he was an unsavory sort and simply didn't care to ask their father to elaborate. They kept their distance, though - which was relieving.
I waited until he'd left the building before using the bathroom, which was inconveniently located behind where he was sitting. Holding my bladder for a couple of hours, to me, was WELL worth it!
After the party, we went to get some food at Applebee's. Oompa texted me when we were waiting to get our check.
"Did you say hello to your uncle?"
I stared at my phone for about five minutes. No, I hadn't. I had made sure to avoid contact, simply because I didn't want to see him. I knew that a 'hello' would have turned into a conversation. Rather than risk saying something I didn't feel was best said at a kiddy party, I had decided against even the wave. I didn't want him even LOOKING at me, which I'm sure couldn't be avoided. For a few minutes, I considered telling my mother that I had waved but didn't think he saw me...but why lie? She'd only ask if he saw me wave. And we'd end right back up at square one.
"No, I didn't," I decided that the truth was better, and texted back.
She came back with, "Yet, you said you would say hello for my sake."
The idea of telling her I waved but he didn't see me, once again paraded through my mind. Instead, I said, "I didn't want to end up having a conversation with him. I have nothing to say to him."
"I didn't ask you to have a conversation with him," she said, "I just asked that you say hello. You know that when I ask you for something, there's usually a reason."
"Oh, yeah?" I shot back, "What was the reason, then?"
She said she couldn't discuss it then. She likely had my sister's nose peering over her shoulder - or she was on the phone with him, and he was probably bitching about that niece (and her kids) who didn't even acknowledge he existed.
Either way, I very honestly don't give a shit. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever that would make my saying hello to a pedophile, a good one. I AM sure I'll hear about it when she comes to visit in a couple weeks - J and I have already discussed what possible reasons there could be - maybe his recent hospital visit has revealed that he's finally going to be dead soon?
* Side note - I just had a nice mental image of him bending over, looking into the hole that will become his final resting place - and me walking by, kick-shoving him into that hole and continuing on my merry way....yeah, just thought I'd leave that there. It is one thing that made me smile yesterday amidst all the mixed-in bouts of anxiety. But it certainly conveys how much I've been looking forward to hearing that he's another step closer to the eternal fires of Hell.
Anyway - when that 'reason' (Oompa's reason, that is, whether or not it matches the one I'm fantasizing about) is revealed - I'll be sure to let you all know as I'm sure you're all as curious as I am. For now, though, I can only assume that he's not doing well, health-wise, and my mother is trying to eliminate any 'guilt' on my part for not having been cordial toward him when I saw him last. This just further confirms that Oompa is completely clueless. And ANY thoughts of someday telling her MY reasons for hating this man are now further away from ever being made a reality. There is just NO way that I can trust her with it - all I'll be left with is even MORE invalidation....and really, who wants that? Show of hands?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
In the meantime, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who rode in my pocket yesterday. I felt you all there, and love you all.
This'll be a short-ish entry tonight; I'll be back later this week with an update on the 'other' stuff. There's lots to share, but for now, I wanted to just clear this off of my mind. As always, comments and thoughts (and guesses on the 'reasons') welcome - we could probably get our bets in before Oompa's visit during the first week in April and it might be fun to see who's right!?
Either way - I am sending you all love and hugs and plenty of well wishes. Hoping your weekend went well!
Until next time.