I hate it when W comes over my house.
My parents like having him over because he does stuff around the house. Shelf to be installed? Brother to tutor? Opinion to be solicited? W’s their man. Whenever he makes his once-a-month weekend stay at our place, the family monopolizes him. That’s great.
My mother makes things very difficult for me while he’s here. I cannot talk to him or engage with him in any meaningful way. My every action is scrutinized. Not even a single moment of mine goes noticed, nor a single detail. My mother is meticulous and doesn’t let any of that go. It’s a blistering silent interrogation process so horrible I can’t even begin to describe it.
She’s been this way for ever. Since 2005, when he moved here, my mother has been following me everywhere when I am with him. I cannot hyperventilate in his presence — even after I’ve run after something. (Heaving breasts, anyone?) I can’t talk about certain subjects. I can’t maintain eye contact. I can’t touch him. I can’t ask him polite questions. But if I avoid him by staying upstairs in my room — which is what I’ve been doing — my mother will call me downstairs, demand I perform a task for her, and then get me into trouble for … breathing. Or heaving. Or whatever it is she wants to accuse me of that day.
I went downstairs to hunt for the box of kumquats. I bent to retrieve the plastic box. From there I could feel my mother’s glare on my back. When I shoved a kumquat and moved away, she accused me of bending over provocatively.
“Was I really?” I asked.
My mother pinched my arm and jabbed her finger toward the family room where W sat peacefully, absorbed in his presentation. He’s having an interview tomorrow at a university closer to where I live. He is more concerned about his potential forty thousand dollar salary increase. He couldn’t care two shits about my ass.