don't mess with Texas

It's Monday night but feels like Sunday night even though I actually worked today despite the fact that it's a holiday of sorts (hi dead presidents!). I had to work because I have so much stuff that I'm behind on and the only way to keep up is to just keep on going and I'm really really really just counting down the weeks of the semester (11) and thinking well fuck the quality, just get it done.

And I HATE thinking that way. I hate writing stuff that is crap and taking the easy way out but the truth of the matter is that I'm teetering so dangerously on the balance of time-crunched insanity that I'm afraid that even the most gentle breeze of surprise or spontaneity or change is going to send me falling into the abyss.

I am so afraid that I'm ultimately not going to be able to handle this and will have to either drop one or both of my classes or end up taking an incomplete.

I just don't want to do either. Only 11 weeks and then I have just one semester left.

Friday night I panicked for a multitude of reasons after I got a very panicky call from my grandmother in Texas (the looney, alcoholic one who can't seem to remember that I'm married - for those of you keeping track). We were out to dinner and she left a message while we were gone. Since there's a two hour time difference and because she didn't sound any more or any less crazy than she normally does, I decided I'd call her back in the morning. Then she called again (about midnight her time). So I picked up the phone (yes, I'm a notorious screener).

She was talking very fast and slurring her words and it was very hard to understand her, but I made out this much: that my grandfather was in the hospital, basically on his deathbed and she wanted to send money for me, GB, my brothers and my mother to come out to see him.

She kept going on and on and on about how much my grandmother liked and admired my mother.

Funny how that vibe never came through all those times he was viciously putting her down during and after my parent's divorce...

She also kept saying something about how my aunt was supposed to be handling all the details but because "her husband" (they've been married 20 years - can you PLEASE call him by his name?) is dying of cancer, she can't handle it anymore.

That freaked me out because I knew he had cancer, but I thought it was in remission.

The conversation was very distressing and confusing and I finally got her to calm down when I said I would call my aunt in the morning and figure things out.

I could barely sleep that night. I kept thinking about my grandparents and how much they drive me crazy but how I used to live with them when I was very young and spent summers with them as a teenager and it made me very sad to think of losing my grandfather. And then I thought of my father, who would inevitably be there if I went back to Texas and how I have not spoken to him in nearly five years and I wondered what I would say to him or if it would be permissable to tell him to only talk to me if it had something to do with my grandfather but other than that he should just steer a clear path of me and then I thought about my grandmother and what she would do if my grandfather died - the man to whom she's been married to for more than 50 years and then I thought about my aunt and her own husband, getting sicker by the minute. I thought about needing to take time off from work and school and wondered if this would put me behind for the semester but knew that even if it did, it had to be faced head on and then I thought about how usually it is so easy to keep Texas in Texas. To keep it compartmentalized in its Texas-sized box, 1500 miles away. How easy it is to just think about it, distractedly and laugh and sigh and shrug my shoulders and move along with my day.

And then I thought about easy it is to shatter that box with one phone call.

In the morning I left my aunt a message and, eight hours later, I got a phone call back - from my grandmother. She called me on my cell phone - a number she did not previously had and must have been given by my aunt since I left the aunt said number on her voice mail. Grandmother was talking really fast as usual but this time her words were very clipped, terse.

Papa made me a Valentine's today and he's going into an assisted living care home and everythying's OK and your aunt is too busy taking care of H. and at some point when Papa is feeling better you can come out but in the meantime just discard our conversation last night.


That was my response to her and so she repeated herself, nearly verbatim but even faster if that was possible. I could tell she wanted to get off the phone - fast.

And so I hung up and put down my head and GB, in the car with me - which is where we were when the phone rang its trilly little cell phone ring - asked what was up.

And I opened my mouth to answer him but then stopped. I opened my mouth again but, once again, fell short of finding words.

It took me several tries before I could even begin to articulate what she'd said and how it made me feel.

I'm still not entirely sure if I understand.

Or if I'll ever understand.

But, for now, I've put Texas back in its box, closed the lid and turned away.

There's really not much else I can do.

10:08 pm - 02.16.04

sounds: Brian Wi1son
i am:


previously on ... - next time on ...

money can't buy happiness but it does buy small pieces of of serenity - 15.07.12 - 4:29 pm

sh)t's about to get real, y'all - 31.05.12 - 9:46 am

why the hell not? - 29.04.12 - 8:38 pm

Hear that lonesome whistle blow... - 02.04.12 - 5:18 pm

a faith in something I can't see - 30.03.12 - 3:33 pm

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