9 things about my family

  1. the way my sister, while trying to have a conversation about her job, deftly, wordlessly, diffuses a fight between her 2 kids.

  2. the way my mother will intently listen to instructions and then blatantly disregard everything said and do what she wants to do with no apology or explanation.

  3. the way she talks to hospital staff, like she’s the doctor on rotation, giving orders and making observations and asking pointed questions, but she’s not on call, it’s not her hospital. her father is dying in a private room on the fourth floor and she’s been living there for four days straight.

  4. my brother doesn’t have to tell me his longest running relationship is over. he knows mom told me even though she wasn’t supposed to. he delays his plans to quit smoking. he asks me if i miss it. sometimes, i reply. the wall of smoke keeps some people out and brings some people in. i miss both.

  5. i have makeup that expired in 2002 that i refuse to use or throw away. i don’t know what this says about me.

  6. i don’t remember ever seeing my dad cry although i’m sure he has. at his father’s funeral. at his brother in law’s funeral. at all the funerals, he slips away. i inherited my ninja skills from him. it takes a moment for people to notice he’s gone. he’s outside, hidden by the car smoking cigarettes. benson and hedges light 100s menthol. so odd, his choice, the one with all the descriptors possible. we’ve all caught him at one point or another. his attempt to hide it half-assed. whenever my mom complains, i think “he needs this. give him this one thing. we all need our one thing.”

  7. the way jeff strips his clothes off after walking the dogs on a hot day, casually unbuttoning and stepping out of his jeans, walking to the kitchen to turn on the running water in the sink and stick his head under the faucet to cool off. how effortless his movements are, almost like he glides, like he has wheels in the bottom of his feet.

  8. the way bean grunts to get your attention. he doesn’t bark. like he doesn’t know he’s a dog and it doesn’t matter. he looks up at your and grunts like a caveman and you know to reach your hand down to give him a piece of your breakfast sandwich even though your vet would disapprove.

  9. the way we all communicate like people who never learned the language, hoping that through osmosis, through telepathy, if only if i feel this loud enough, “i love you. i love you. i love you.”