I reached across Little One to take the notebook from Mom, feeling like we were in school and passing notes. Grinning at the thought, I skimmed the cursive script and frowned at its contents.
"Oh," I noted mildly and Mom nodded with an expression of resigned distaste. I made my thoughtful face and directed my attention to the girls while I puzzled over the matter at hand.
"You need marijuana," a colleague said when I complained of headaches. (I have one now and am lying on the bathroom floor, listening to the water run in the shower and debating taking a fifth pill.) I opened my mouth to reply but simply nodded instead. I do hear good things and, not having tried it, will claim ignorance rather than argue.
My issue with trying it - even if it did become legal and heavily-taxed - is that I tend to like things too much. We seem to tend toward addiction in my family so I've shied away from alcohol (I'm good for a glass or two of wine or a moderate-strength cocktail but that's about it) and never tried recreational substances or sex. It just seemed safer. Instead, I read a lot of books and got excellent grades and focused my energy on obtaining money, power and admiration. And affection - I do enjoy it when people like me.
Anyway. Brother took a different approach, drinking heavily from grade school onward and being arrested for drugs in high school, not long after he started dating his ex-wife.
I remember being viciously angry at her for that - it was just so trashy, I decided (for I was much more judgmental then). Court dates for drugs. Having children with a teenage girlfriend. Quitting community college.
Having just taken a fifth painkiller, however, and being a bit more mature (almost 32!), I realize it's not trashy so much as human. People make decisions for all sorts of reasons and the more stupid things I do and subsequently can't explain, the more tolerant I am of others and their foibles. I'm personally overly fond of food. I have a history of infatuation for emotionally-unavailable men and for rejecting those who could love me. I own not one but two vibrators. I take sleep-aids at least twice a week (and that's down from 'every single night' as a post-doc) and would take prescription narcotics often if I had access to them. (I love Vicodin - everything goes numb and relaxed and happy...)
"She's not a horrible person," I told Mom after the Ones had gone to sleep and I was sure they weren't listening to us discuss their mother. "And she's always smoked so I guess it's not that unexpected that she'd test positive during random checks at work."
"But she's suspended," Mom replied, scandalized. "And if she doesn't pass next week, she'll be fired!"
I smiled and reached for her hand. If my blog were revealed at work, I may well be suspended. Doug dealt with the snow on my driveway and sidewalks when I was traveling last week - a gesture that made me teary with its sweetness even as I doubt I'm capable of loving him as he deserves. I missed a meeting on Friday because I just didn't feel like going. People do dumb stuff. And, God willing, get the chance to fit in some reasonable choices and modest accomplishments before screwing up again.
"He's 100 pounds overweight," a colleague said of his best friend who just had triple bypass surgery.
"We loaned him money to claim bankruptcy," Dad sighed over Brother and his financial issues that continue to make me cringe a little.
"I just can't divorce him," a friend told me, despite years of emotional abuse from her husband.
"He never helps!" Mom says of Dad while she glares in his direction as he sits on the couch.
"She always yells!" Dad complains when there's a commercial and he realizes everyone is working on something but him.
"And yet you've been married for 42 years," I tell them both.
"I'm sure she's not doing it before this next test," I offered of Brother's ex-wife, thinking it's not easy to realize being blonde and pretty begins many relationships but men will leave for someone even prettier. That having children - even wonderful, smart, adorable girls - is work. That parents who spoil you will eventually lose patience. "It will all be fine - she'll figure herself out." I soothed Mom and reminded her to be gracious and loving.
But then Little One gave back the Oreo she requested this morning, saying it would be terrible if she got fat. And I looked at my darling six-year-old niece and consigned her mother straight to Hell. Then I winced when I remembered I'd forgotten my morning prayers and would probably see her there.
But it's all a process, I suppose. And as that fifth pill is working, I think the pain has eased enough for me to sleep so that I can awaken tomorrow and try again.