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She told me that she had been sober for 6 months before Thanksgiving with her family. Apparently she got blackout drunk.

“Understandable,” I said. “My family is the reason I drink so much around the holidays.”

She told me that her mom is pretty pissed at her.

I said, “You can hangout with me if you need a break from being under her roof. But, I might not be the best influence right now. I am enthusiastically encouraging bad behavior.”

“Perfect,” she said.

I know she’s trouble, but my family likes to think that I am also trouble. Might as well prove them right.

She is objectively beautiful, and very sexual. We had some fun a few years ago, then she moved out of this town. Now it’s my turn to move away, which I didn’t realize until last night.

I am just too close to these people that want to paint me as a black-sheep. I am too close to the stress they come with. And I need a good reason to miss the holidays.

. . .

My uncle gave a toast about what he is grateful for this year. He said he was grateful that almost everyone in the room was a Christian. I saw the side-eye from my cousin, and felt the heat from the eyes of the rest of them, as they impulsively responded to his words. I looked down at my drink and pretended to shake the ice that was in it. Then, in one smooth gulp, I downed it.

Five minutes before my uncle gave his toast, my 8 year old nephew said that he was grateful for his uncles, and that one hit me right in the feels.

If I do move away, to someplace where I won’t be expected to show up for Christmas, I’ll really miss him . . . I’ll miss my brother, my sister and most of my cousins, as well.

This was the first family event after the publishing of my book, which admittedly, was full of some dirty laundry. What y’all don’t know is that the book is just a couple of old socks—I have a whole closet that I could’ve brought out.

Two hours after the toast from my uncle, my cousin tells me the story about when he got ‘saved’, which I’ve heard about thirty times already. He spends an hour explaining to me how lost I am in comparison to himself. I was pretty drunk at that point. He is sober. I sat and listened to him patiently.

I had been feeling so peaceful up until a few days ago. Now, I feel angry. Now, I feel like encouraging bad behavior. Now, I am dreading Christmas. Maybe I’ll fake a sickness this year? Or, maybe I’ll move to Dallas? But . . . I’ll probably just go and feel more heat from their impulsive eyes crawling on my skin. I’ll probably just eat their jabs, like I always do, and I will try not to throw any jabs back.

CH 11/28/23

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