FICTION FART #1: Christmas Eve in Boulder Fucking Colorado

In the kitchen- the same kitchen that my siblings and I witnessed our father lose his mind, holding a dirty steak knife to our mothers throat, shaking like a dome of Jell-O, yelling at us behind all of those frightened Jim Beam tears: Do you see this? Not so pretty anymore, is she?- my mother is showing Helen the correct way to knead pie crust dough. Helen looks back at me and smiles. I know what this smile is telling me. It’s telling me that my mother is so old-fashioned and cute. It’s telling me that she’s truly enjoying her time here in the place of my up-bringing. It’s thanking me for bringing her here, for trusting her with all of this. But it’s also saying something else. It’s saying: soon, oh so soon, my Darling Darin, enough is going to be enough. And when that moment arrives, you’d better get me the fuck out of here. You’d better get me the fuck out or I will have to finish the job that your pathetic excuse for a father started all those years ago. I swear to God, Darin, I will slit her throat and smile the whole goddamn way through.
Of course I’m exaggerating a bit. Helen’s not an evil person or anything. Most of the time she’s actually really nice and sweet and all that. She’s just got this extreme bitchy side to her, too. She was an only child, so all of this weird traditional-family-Holliday-bullshit stuff we do, she just doesn’t understand. It doesn’t resonate. And I’m fine with that. I actually find it incredibly attractive- this unabashed familial ignorance of hers.
Mark, my mothers new boyfriend, is in the living room with my father. They are standing in front of the record player discussing the distinct differences between Burl Ives and Bing Crosby’s singing voices (as if the subject warrants discussion). Outside there is everything that makes Christmas, Christmas: slow falling snow, little colored light bulbs lining all the roofs of the neighborhood. Icicles. Stupid lit up inflatable Santa’s, etc.
And here I am, leaning in the kitchen entryway, soaking it all in. I can’t help but smile. Which is interesting, because I hate it all so much. I’m so tired. Physically. Mentally. I hate it all. Yet here I am, in the midst of this strange little group of people, on Christmas Eve in Boulder Fucking Colorado, smiling like some creepy, nostalgic idiot. I hate it all so much, yet my heart is pounding with love. Love for all of these stupid things, things, things. Love for all of these stupid people. Why do we love the things we hate? Why is it always so impossible to separate the two? Love. Hate. Love. Hate. Why do they so often fool around on the same playground? Does anyone know? Does anyone give a shit? Is anyone listening to me? Jesus, put down the fucking eggnog and listen to me.
No. No. No.
Stay.
Stay the way you are.
Let me love you.
Let me hate you.
Let me stand here and smile like an idiot.
Let me. Let me. Let me.

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