Andare, Partire, Tornare


Reunions and disunions

"The young ones will be chatting soberly in their rooms about the world and responsibility. The older ones will be going to bed. Their feet hurt, and they have had some shocks today. But the middle-aged ones will be trying desperately to pretend that they are undergraduates again, and finding it difficult going."

--paraphrased very loosely from Dorothy L. Sayers, _Gaudy Night_ because I don't have the book in front of me.

Bemo's 20th year reunion was a blast for him, although more moderate fun for me. I didn't expect too much, since, after all, I have no idea who these people are, but watching him have such a good time was enough entertainment for me. I did get up and boogie down with one of the guys who was on the football team, so I suppose I have attained a step in the high school ladder of achievement - I have danced with a football player. My former wallflower self would have been so proud.

It was interesting being the fly on the wall, watching people socialize. In its own way, it was pretty touching, seeing the old photographs flashed up on the wall, and looking over to see that person, twenty years older, startled by the shock of recognition - their old faces staring out at them, caught in a moment that is so far away now. Photography is an interesting suplement to memory. It never forgets, even though you may have. It's unrelenting. I didn't find any of that desperation that Sayers hints at - the almost frantic need to recapture your youth. Yes, they boogied on the dance floor, and drank, and flirted, and had fun, but everybody seemed to simply be happy to see each other again, to relish the time in each other's company. The picnic the next day was more down-to-earth, with children running around bapping each other with balls and blowing bubbles and sliding down the big curly slide in the park.

A bit more of the family drama played out on Sunday morning. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this in this diary, but basically ever since Christmas two years ago, the family has been in some disarray. Bemo's sister and youngest brother have taken up arms against everybody else, dredging up old family history and refusing to accept the apology Bemo proffered after he said a little too much in the heat of a big argument (an argument provoked by his sister's boyfriend. Bemo stood up for his mom and his sister (who was being majorly dissed by said boyfriend, whereupon sister turned around and bit the heads off everybody in the room for daring to criticize her boyfriend's sorry ass, and then proceeded to sulk for the rest of the soon-to-be-cut-short visit. Did you get all that?) So anyway, Saturday night, Bemo's dad gets a phone call from FuckingDivaSister's fiancee, asking if the two of them can come over for breakfast. We all negotiate, and figure that if Bemosister is coming over to formally accept Bemo's now two-year-old apology, and make peace with everybody, it's fine. FuckingDivaSister agrees to these terms, and we don't hear from them until the next morning. Wherupon we get a phone call from FuckingDivaSister as they're on their way over to breakfast, with her specifying that she has "no expectations" and that she hopes Bemo has none either. Bemo's dad points out that yes, in fact, there is one specific expectation that had been agreed to yesterday, but that gets handwaved off and Bemo's dad caves and tells her to come over anyway.

The pair come over, Bemo and FuckingDivaSister go for a walk so she doesn't have to eat crow in front of the whole family, and the two of them come back and, while not exactly making nice with each other, manage to sit on opposite ends of the dining table and not kill each other. When FuckingDivaSister and SoonToBeMarried-SoonToBeDivorcedBoy leave, we all look at Bemo and ask, "So...what did she say? What did you say?"

Bemo looks at us all and says, "Nothing. She managed to say nothing during all that time, except for repeating over and over that she had no expectations." She "accepted" his apology - if you can call telling him that "I accept your crappy apology" really counts. None of us except his dad, who has always had a tender spot for his erratic, bitchy, and totally self-centered little girl, accepts it. And even he is looking dubious about it. So basically nothing has really changed. Bemo doesn't want to invest any more time or emotional energy on this thing, with a sister who he did love (although he didn't like her) until she managed to shred every last vestige of emotional consideration for her out of his system. She was very thorough, really.

Friends are the family you pick out for yourself. Because in so many cases, your family is composed of people who really, really suck.

1:48 p.m. - 2002-08-05


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