My brother Corey and I went out to breakfast yesterday and, as we normally do, we started talking about our family. Corey mentioned that he has basically no memories of us all doing stuff together, like just being together, going on family outings, being normal. So I started thinking about that too, and he’s not wrong. I can’t think of one time that the five us (our parents, Corey, Ryan and myself) even went out to dinner together.
“I remember going to Fatheads one time,” Corey said. “But I can’t remember you being there.”
“That’s because I wasn’t. You guys started to go to Fatheads when Daddy hated me, so I was never invited,” I laughed, and it wasn’t even a bitter laugh, either. It was a real “Oh, memories” laugh because if I let this shit be anything other than fucking hilarious, I’d have probably killed myself by now.
So this really got me thinking about the later years when those a-holes would go off and pretend that they were a loving family but it was mostly just because my dad wanted me to feel like I wasn’t a part of things. There was the spontaneous trip to Tennessee that I didn’t even know about until the night before they left. (When this happened.) And then there was the time, during the spring of 1997, that they went out of town again and I feel like maybe it had something to do with Ryan playing tennis but why bother trying to figure it out now.
The whole point of this is that it made me think of something that I hadn’t thought of probably since it happened. I didn’t go to school that Friday that my family was AWOL. I distinctly remember that I was going through a pretty major bi-polar episode, spawned by the fact that Psycho Mike was locked up in a juvenile mental facility again and dumped me for some damaged cheerleader he had met on the inside. But I was all, “No I’m fine, I swear! Just because I’m staying home and jamming sharp metal things into my legs doesn’t mean I need help!”
Somewhere along the way, I decided that I was going to get drunk. I could have raided my dad’s beer (he had actual vending machines stocked with various beer out in his garage), but I hated beer. My mom wasn’t a drinker, so we never had liquor or wine in the house either, unless she was about to make her famous Kahlua baked beans. But what she did have was a huge, dusty jug of port in the pantry. I guess she would use it to cook with sometimes.
I took a huge swig and it was fucking disgusting, but still way better than beer. So I spent the afternoon chugging this shit until my friend Jon showed up because we were going to pick up our friend Justin and then hang out for a little bit before the impromptu get-together I was having that night.
I didn’t want to leave my port behind so I did the smart thing: I poured some into a to go cup, which just happened to be one of my dad’s collector’s glasses he used to bring home from all of the stupid car shows he went to. This one was some stupid daiquiri glass thing and I filled it to the top with liquid spite.
When I got in Jon’s car, he was all, “Whoa, what’s that?” and I was all, “Don’t worry about it” as the port sloshed around when he drove over the speed bumps on my street. So then we got to the high school and I was straight slurping port from a ridiculous car show glass on fucking school property and Jon was freaking the fuck out, yelling at me about how I was going to get in so much trouble and I was like I DON’T GIVE A FUCK” and to be fair you guys, I probably really didn’t give a fuck. I was a fucking mess back then. (Haha, back then.)
Then Jon started yelling at me to get rid of it so I chucked it out the window. Just, bam—tossed it right out of the passenger window right as we pulled up to the school, and it shattered everywhere, taking shards of my sanity with it. And it felt SO FUCKING GOOD. Fuck you and your dumb car shows, “daddy”! Jon was like, “OH NO YOU DIDN’T” and I was just giggling gleefully.
(Sometimes I would tape over my dad’s mixtapes, too. OH YEAH, I DID THAT.)
Later that night, Lisa, Janna, Keri and her dumb ex-boyfriend Dan came over, along with Jon and Justin. I had continued drinking all evening so from what I was told and vaguely remember, they had to hold me up Weekend at Bernie’s-style, every time my aunt Sharon would stop over to “check” on things, usually under the ruse of, “I BROUGHT MORE POP IF YOU NEED IT!” And Keri and Janna would have to try to block her from coming all the way in and seeing her slobbering niece.
Dan used my drunken state to try and enter my porthole (oh!) but thank god Jon and Justin were there and quickly stopped me from becoming a limp sex doll. I remember Justin hauling Dan out of the house and saying, “YOU’RE DONE HERE” and then angrily driving him home. No one ever really liked Dan. Except for Keri, I guess. She wasn’t too thrilled with the events of that night.
I think this was the same night I tried to get everyone to work out to my Jackie Sorenson aerobics tape? Who knows. All I know is that I never drank port again.
During breakfast yesterday, I mentioned that our coffee mugs reminded me of our dad. They were big, chunky and the color of earth. Corey noted that they had some for sale and I made some casual remark, something like “I should buy one for Dad,” but I didn’t. Now I kind of wish I had.