Christmas Eve, when I am in the States, means one thing: my friend G_’s party. Now, I hate parties, and you won’t catch me at one, except for G_’s Christmas party, which I always attend. I do it because she’s my friend and I love her a lot, and I know it makes her happy that I show up.
I generally find some out-of-the-way yet still polite place to stand with the Single Malt that G_ has pulled out of the cupboard especially for me, the other Scotch drinkers in the crowd being relegated to Dewar’s. I make polite conversation with whomever approaches me; generally, I do not know them because, as the Social Security Administration judge’s summary of my disability disposition notes, I am a recluse.
This time I got stuck in an hour-and-a-half one-sided conversation with a World War II veteran submariner. He is quite a spry fellow, and I suspect he thought he was chatting me up; but I felt my fight-or-flight mechanism rising, and panic setting in, as he was standing between me and the only exit. Then a woman broke in, introduced by another guest whom I did not know, and said she knew who I was and absolutely had to meet me. Black spots appeared before my eyes. The submariner was still going on about diesel smoke at 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, but his voice sounded like it was coming out of a long metal tube.
Then the woman told me why she wanted to meet me, and my most feared monster surfaced:
“My grandson, who has some “problems,” lives with me. Your blog helps me so much!”
Dive, dive, shouted my inner submarine. A local person reads my blog! She knows who I am! She also knows my mother! I am found out, exposed, and all hell will break loose, maybe even tonight, and if not tonight, tomorrow, because she just came from the same party my parents were attending!
My mind capsized. All I could hear through the roaring in my ears was, “Oh, (insert my mother’s name here), your daughter’s blog has helped me so much,” says my paranoid self, impersonating this well-meaning lady, which this time could very well be right. (And if you are reading this, dear lady, please forgive my reaction to your well-intentioned thanks; I think you know what I’m talking about, and I really am grateful that you told me.)
And then (prates my paranoia) my mother, who is computer savvy, looks up my blog and sees all the honest, yet horrible, things I have written about her. My ass is grass. I will be slowly flayed with red-hot forks and pincers. Perhaps she will throw me out again, as she has done so many times before, and I will be homeless yet again. Monsters, nameless monsters, are attacking me, and I have no weapons to defend myself.
You see, although I am very glad that my blog has helped someone, it does not mitigate the mind-numbing, cold-sweat fear of my mother that persists even to this day, fifty-nine years later.
Some wounds never heal.