Good Evening Ladies, Gents, Faes, and every other possible person who may be reading this regardless of identity or pronoun.
That particular sentence is something that I can be proud of...I do have a confession to make, but perhaps the topic of my blog first? Yes, I do think that this would be the best tactic to use first and foremost. I do warn you, however, that this post is very long.
Thursday. That day, in a childhood long past yesterday, was a day in which I would usually spend from sun up until sun down with my blistered hands around a roughly made ax, chopping at firewood for the family hearth. It would keep us warm far through the rugged nights, far too soon for spring but no longer dead winter. Life in the Romanian Mountains were not easy, regardless on if you prefer to think of my story as truth or falsehood. Perhaps these memories that I keep as my own are made in my own false assumptions. A story that I had intended to tell, made up and woven together for a book that I havent yet written. Or, perhaps, they were indeed a life that I once lived. Either way, they're far too clear and dear to me for my assumptions of deception. Regardless, winter is harsh on many people for many reasons in many countries. Romania, you'd imagine, were no different.
Our winters usually ran much longer than the average winter in America, and although winter in the north east of America usually is rough and not for the weak--this year has been alarmingly and vastly the opposite. This time last year, we were plowing our driveways from five feet of bitter cold snow and unforgiving wind chills of around -20F. This year? No, no, this year is very different. This year we've had a week a rain, followed by a week of snow. A week of freezing rain and miles of ice skating roads, then followed by 60F and biker short weekends. Some are happy for it, some are not. I'm sure that the lack of freezing temperatures has been forgiving to the elderly, but the ice has not been. It is a difficult thing to judge when you have so many different angles to look at it from.
This is something that was heavy on my mind as I drove an hour and a half away from 'home' in New Hampshire, staring at the bare patches of dead grass where snow drifts should be. Bears awakening from hibernation in confusion and hunger, only to wonder if they're supposed to go back to sleep or ride out the returning cold. The interstate I drove on had become littered with raccoons, a bear, countless deer and I dare say; even a few bats. Nature is beyond confused. As were I, though it were not the weather which had confused me.
Ren and I recieved word from his mother that she is leaving for Georgia, as planned, and would like to meet with us for lunch before they go. Ren immediatly agreed, wanting nothing more than to see his little brother and two nieces before theyre ripped from his life once more. But, sadly, he requested that I take the wheel in most parts as he will not have the courage to stand up to the disrespect his older sister bestows upon him. I gladly accepted, since I do not get to spend much time with his family and want to develop my own understanding of them. Oh, did I ever...
His older sister made it clear that we were going to 'Friendlys' for lunch, despite Ren insisting that there wasnt one in that town. He should know, he frequents this town rather often for monthly shopping and errands. After demanding he just do as she said, he shrugged it off and agreed. She called back soon later, saying their going to 'Pizza Hut' instead. Which he chuckled at, knowing theyd been shut down for some time due to an outbreak of food poisoning and bad review. Once more did she call, but this time to confirm that there even was an 'Apple Bees' and actually listened when he explained that they moved, but yes, there is one. I drove us there calmly, reassuring him to breathe and try to remain calm when she is rude, and keep a brave face for his little brother's sake. He agreed, and we got out of the vehicle. She were there before us by only a minute, in tow with his little brother Kai and his niece Kairi; informed that his mother and the others would arrive shortly. They found a table large enough for the big family, and we all sat down to wait. The waitress came and asked for drinks. I, unfortunatly, got slightly confused and caused a bit of embarrassment. Something about drinks on-tap, or on the fountain, make us ill. Sodas, for instance, that are not bottled. I said on-tap, and was attempting to explain to correct myself, but Amanda (the older sister) made a charade out of it to make me look like a fool and didnt know what I was talking about. Annoyingly, she and the waitress had a laugh about my confusion and I went with a simple bottle of water.
Soon enough, Ren's mother appeared. In her wake was her Husband, Ren's new stepfather, who has so far managed to stay out of my wrath. His youngest brother, Jordan, was also there. An unexpected surprise, but not unpleasant. In fact, he's one of the few that Ren and I can correct on the deadnaming without confrontation. He normally just falters but corrects himself and giggles. Autistic, but not unintelligent. The meal was ordered on three separate checks, Ren taking ownership of his own meal that he shared with Kai. Something of the normal considering their tastes and appetite are much of the same. They talked of random things, Amanda constantly referring to Kai as his old, feminine name. Ren and Kai would exchange looks but say nothing, knowing it's just her cold hearted self, per usual. Much to our delight, Ren's mother managed to call him Warren instead of Kristy. Which was surprising and reassuring. She seems to be managing, so far, not to anger us. Even his stepfather, Joe, slipped up. Ren, too nervous to say anything, asked me to step in. I gave him a short and toneless "Ren" when he said Kristy. His mother gave Joe a look as if to ask him to cooperate, and he quickly did.
Aside from the loud and embarrassing blabbering of his older sister, the meal went more pleasantly than expected. I (in Ren's stead) were mocked for being such a healthy tipper, despite the waitress being rude to me. I have no shame in this. I always tip well, be it the waiter/ess or our usual hairdresser. Old habits. But now were the time in which Ren took a step back and allowed me full fronting, knowing this were the hardest part. Good Byes.
Saying Goodbye to Kai went easier and less tearful than the last. He had finally been given the two gifts that were promised months ago. His lip ring and his phone, much deserved in order to be dragged across country. His mother used Ren's proper name, as did Joe and Jordan. Kairi and Mackenzie still refer to him as Aunt Kristy, but what else is to be expected when Amanda is their mother? Then came Amanda's turn...She wrapped her arms around me, but I did not return the gesture. I stood there coldly, staring at her. "What, I dont get a hug?" she asked. I smiled in spite and arched a brow, staring into her face. "What's my name..?" I asked her, knowing she'd never say it. She jokingly said a word that, in other terms, refers to a female dog. In which I shook my head. "Exactly. You cant even say it, so why should I offer you a gesture of affection when you cant even show me respect?"
She didnt get her hug. And she doesnt seem to like me much. Which is fine with us. It's mutual. They may be Ren's family, but I have that pleasant understanding that my own biological family is far beyond their graves. Their times ran short generations ago, so I have the benefit of choosing my family. Kai is my family. Ren is my family. My headmates are my family. I dare say even my friend Destinee is in my family. Only I can choose my family. Amanda is not in it. Neither is Joe or Ren's mother, yet. I can always choose otherwise, but they must earn it. I do not trust easily, and if you earn my trust, do not make me regret it. My wrath is fierce and forgiveness be few. I've been a part of this game a lot longer than Ren or any of his loved ones, and I'll not be crossed as easily.
As an end note...
Please, I do emplore you to visit my next blog post. It were meant to be in this one, but I'm afraid it's dragged a bit long. Please do visit my blog post titled "The truth about You".
Thank you for reading and listening to my rambling,