Hello again; as I write this, it's the evening of the 29th of December and I'm sitting in the dining room of the downstairs apartment in Mike's building offering moral support and an extra kitchen for the Holidays. April, who had originally intended to go to Aberdeen is sleeping in the hide-a-bed at Mike's place; it's not due to any residual friction with Laura but more about circling the Patterson wagons. What's more, she's struck up a friendship with a young fellow who's also working towards becoming a veterinarian; a few years ago, we would have made a big thing about it by speculating where fate and faith would have guided their destinies but, well, we sort of know better now.
As Dee said in her letter, it's been another eventful month for them. That's because Mike is using his skills as a journalist to try to figure out what caused their recent (as she puts it) unhappiness. The first question he asked himself is, of course, is the same thing happening to his old flames from Junior and Senior High, Martha McRae-Clegg (who, like Mrs Poirier and yours truly, is part of a blended family and doing better than either of us) and Rhetta Blum. That's because he's a human being; he can remain loyal to his wife but still ask himself "What if?" Dad's friend Doctor Ted answered back that no matter what happened, he'd still be consulting a surgeon to get that vasectomy because he wanted to both be responsible and not put his wife (whoever that might have been) through "that" experience again. (From what I understand, Martha's twins were the result of in vitro fertilization while Rhetta's son Mitchell has the same extra toes that frightened Annie Nichols.) He also finally got to talk to his real dad this month; from what I understand, what made the man not want to give Mike the time of day is that much like the Days, the Watsons of Saskatoon are fairly well off and feared contact, by proxy or not, from what their lawyers saw as a gold-digger. That's sort of a nasty thing to think but I can understand them; I don't like it because it's not what Mom is but I can see why they might think that. They don't have any idea that the only coinage that Elly Richards ever valued was the love and approval of her parents so they can be excused their excesses. (As an example of what Mom really is, watch the older sister on Phineas and Ferb make a paranoid fool of herself; the same need to bust younger siblings, seek affection and, above all, reassure herself that her parents take her seriously is all there.)
It's not like I don't know what that hunger is either; it's the reason that I treated Paul the shabby way I did, after all. As you remeber, I blew off meeting his parents, dangled poor old Warren under his nose and flew down South as fast as I could; I did so to further the only real goal I had at the time. It's a horrible thing to admit but the love and happiness I would probably have had meant nothing if my family wasn't there to see it. There I'd be, thousands of kilometers away and thus beyond the range of their affections and there'd Mike be, right in front of them where they could see him. Thanks to their warped values, I turned away from one good thing because I didn't want the Son shining in my eyes forever. Ah, well; it's in the past now. Getting worked up about all the crap I went through and wished on myself without having learned what not do in the future is the quickest way I can think of to get that broken glass feeling Anthony talks about. Speaking of both him and that feeling, there's a great big "what if" of our own we both have to mull over that isn't wondering about children: Thérèse. I mentioned earlier that Mike and I didn't get along as well as we could have because Mom tried to force two people who had differing goals in life together; it's much the same thing with me and her. It's an odd thing to say given how messed up I am but she has more and deeper issues than I did; to sink to Mom's level of witty banter, most of those issues have Roger Arsenault's scowling, ugly mug on the cover. The sad thing is that it took all of this to finally get me to the point where I can accept being a symbol of that greedy old buzzard's smug, entitled hatefulness as a cheating rat husband without undue resentment. Not to defend myself or anything but most of me was still a toddler sitting in a highchair in a darkened kitchen so I couldn't really relate. It's almost a blessing that our paths are most likely meant to diverge; there's less nastiness that way.
Fortunately, we checked our psychological baggage at the door on Christmas itself. I'm both pleased and ashamed to report that preparation is easier without panic or martyrdom and food tastes better when allowed to cool properly and not bolted down in haste so as to avoid talking to one another. That's one of the things I am not going to miss about Christmas in Milborough; the other thing is, of course, getting hammered like a moron on New Years' Eve; that's one thing Dad is right about. Speaking of which, from what Ted and the Mayes tell us, he had a fairly good Christmas himself all things being equal. It was just as pleasant for him to avoid malice, pettiness and passive-aggressive whining this holiday. It's sort of too bad that he pushed Mom over the edge in his dethroning moment of suck, though; if she'd gotten therapy for Christmas instead of massive quantities of psychotropic drugs and twenty-four hour supervision by a closed-circuit camera, it would been a happier time for all.
Ah, well; it's time to take Françoise, Meredith and Robin on a drive to see who's still plugged in tonight so I'll have to cut things short. Here's hoping you've had a less interesting year than we have and that we all have less drama in the new year.