Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Basket--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Saturday, February 2

     Sonia came over, I brewed a pot of tea, and we sipped it in my living room by the fireplace.
     "It's all about control, all about control,” Sonia said, shaking her head. “I can do this, so I’m going to. I can get away with that, so I will.”
     “JB didn’t want to lift a finger around here. He earned a paycheck, but everything else was on me. I worried I was castrating him by being too capable. I didn’t lean on him. I didn’t ask for advice. I didn’t make him feel like a big strong man.”
     “JB’s childhood is responsible for who he is,” Sonia said. “Years of therapy can only unravel that—and only if he wants to work at it. That passive aggressive thing. . .” Sonia scowled. “Passive aggressive people live in their heads, spin stories, create their own delusional world, plan how to get even."
     I shuddered. “How’s your brother?”
     “Ugh,” she said. “We thought he was going to die. He was down to one hundred and five pounds and the doctor told him his liver was shutting down. He stopped drinking for a while and got better. Now he’s drinking again and making my parents’ lives hell. My father is ninety and my mother is not well. She has heart trouble and takes water pills. If she doesn’t drink enough water she gets dehydrated. That’s why she was in the hospital. But as horrible and verbally abusive as my brother is to them, I think taking care of him is what’s keeping them going. They’d never kick him out of the house.”
     “How’s your husband?”
     “He’s okay,” Sonia said. “Henry’s been really sad since his best friend died. His friend, Sam, was smart, brilliant, fun. He died of a heroin overdose after his daughter died the same way. He’d been clean for years then his wife left him. I think she was fooling around. He went downhill after that. When their daughter died, Sam’s ex blamed him. It was all so sad. Henry hadn’t hungout with Sam near the end. He didn’t like Sam’s druggie friends. He was afraid of getting busted for just being with them. But he and Sam grew up together. He loved him like a brother. It’s been hard.”
     “How are you?”
     “I’m on hormone replacement therapy. It got bad. Really bad. So I went on them. Turning fifty was fine but once I hit fifty-five everything went downhill.”
     “Jesus,” I said.
     Sonia grimaced and nodded her head.
     “My friend Lila says (I mimicked her drawl), ‘Everyone’s walking around with a basket of shit.’”
     Sonia laughed. “That’s good.”

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