Monday, June 20, 2005

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The gorilla looked up at us and, it seemed, frowned. He held a stick tucked into the side of his neck, and while he might have been grumpy he might also really just look like that. And so I stood there looking at him, smiling dumbly while he reached up and launched his stick right at us.
A bunch of people came running over from where they had been standing at the other side of the observation deck. "Did anyone catch that stick?" they asked us, as though it had been a fly ball.
I'm just glad it was only a piece of wood in his hand.

My family gets on their airplane to go home tomorrow, and I am wrung out. I find myself getting defensive in response to everything my father says, justifying everything because I'm not ever sure what's a snarky comment and what isn't. I'm afraid of becoming that, afraid of losing every other tone to my voice that isn't sarcasm.
I have developed (this is too much information) a light rash that tells me I have pushed myself too far. Our bodies tend to express themselves at our weakest point, and I have spent the last few days trying desperately to share with these people the things that I love. The trouble is that families, as a rule, aren't interested in us as people. They want to see us as reflections of themselves, as expressions of their own genetic material, and since they don't care independently about the things that form my life they haven't much cared to refrain from trying to tear them down either. Unhappy people try their best to make everyone around them unhappy too. As a result I feel hollow and small and about twelve years old.
It's my own fault, I guess, for inviting them into this perfect space that I've made for myself. I don't know why I continue to believe that even though we share DNA we should have anything at all in common.
My new rule is as follows: friends are encouraged to visit. Please, visit early and often! But family, they have to wait for me to come to them.

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