#342

December 28, 2015

Matthew,

Everybody is posting their christmas photos online. It is quite depressing. Last year I had a decent Christmas, all things considered. I had to leave the country to cancel my education visa, so I spent an afternoon in the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. It was nice to reflect on how far I had come while sampling the local fare and eating candy from other countries. However, it was bittersweet.

You see, Matthew, the more successful I become, the more marginalized I am from my family.

It was clear during my visit two weeks ago. I could scarcely recognize my family, and they couldn’t even bring themselves to look me in the eyes. My brother had a little bit of weed, and us getting stoned was the only way to corner him and try to figure out what he wants out of life. My mom was a mess, what with all the terminal cancer and regret, and I still couldn’t say or do the right thing around her to save my miserable life. Same as it ever was.

I had a good Christmas a few years ago with my step-dad’s family. I suppose it was around 2010 or 2011. I drank expensive alcohol, ate expensive food, and pretended like I belonged there. It was rather nice, actually, because everyone was drunk and helped me to feel like I was a part of that side of the family.

There was one other good Christmas when I was twelve years old. We went to Green Bay to visit my mom’s father. My parents were too preoccupied to be jerks, though I do remember my mother and her sister quarreling over something stupid and my stepfather hitting me in the face. However, we visited all sorts of people, ate a lot of food, and I got to hang out with three cute granddaughters of a family friend. It was my only truly memorable Christmas where we came as close as we could to being a family and going through all the prescribed motions.

That’s all I really want, Matthew. Something memorable. Since everybody is already dead or dying, I guess we can just scratch that idea of the family gathered around the fireplace again. I feel a little young for that possibility to be gone.

But my life is good. I’m about to have a smorgasbord of leftover street food, then follow it up with some roasted coffee beans from Kenya straight from the French press. I’m gainfully employed, I’m in decent shape, I feel pretty healthy, and I have a great girlfriend. Aside from a functional family, I couldn’t really ask for much more.

So now that the sedative I took earlier is kicking in, I’m going to bring this missive to a close and grade some midterms.

Stay hydrated,

Pete

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