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Warning: This poem contains intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes getting dumped on a holiday, emotional turmoil, messy family dynamics, rude language, crying, upset children, impending divorce, religious discrimination, homophobia, forced move on short notice, worrying about money, reference to past miserable Christmas, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
"A Celebration and a Consolation"
[Monday, December 21, 2015]
Curt Clancy chose to dump
his wife Dorcas on Yule
because he was a dick.
At least, this was the way that
their daughter Keira interpreted it.
"He's a dick," Keira said to
her wife Donne. "My dad
is a selfish, heartless dick."
"Shh. Little pitchers have
big ears," said Donne.
"Yeah well, tell that to
my mom," said Keira.
Dorcas sat on the couch,
crying into her hands.
Keira fluttered around
the kitchen, torn between
going back to her mother and
finishing the Yule cookies.
Her two youngest daughters,
Ruby and Agate, clung to her legs.
"Mommy, why is Grandma sad?"
Agate asked, lower lip wobbling.
Oh crap. If Agate started crying,
it could go on for hours -- she was
the moodier of the half-twins.
"Grandma is sad because
Grandpa hurt her feelings,"
said Keira. "I'll talk to her
and see if I can help."
"Hey, why don't we go
help out your brothers?"
Donne said brightly. "I bet
Adam could use a hand
larding up those pinecones,
and Clayton might like someone
to tell him which lights are out."
Both boys were ensconced at
the dining room table. Adam
was making natural birdfeeders,
and Clayton was replacing bulbs
that had burned out along
the strings of holiday lights.
With perfectly awful timing,
the oven buzzer went off.
Both Keira and Donne
stared at it in mute horror.
"I can take over the cooking,"
Violet said. "I can read a cookbook."
"I'll help," said Rose. "I can put
the done cookies on a cooling rack."
"Thank you so much, girls, that is
a huge help," Keira said, relieved.
"I'll go see if Mom has wound down
enough that she's ready to talk."
Mom hated having anyone stare
at her while she cried, so she was
huddled in the great room with
everyone else in the kitchen.
Keira tiptoed over to the couch.
"Mom?" she said. "Are you
ready to talk yet, or do
you still hate the world?"
Dorcas sniffled, wiping
her face with a wet hankie.
"Talk, I suppose," she said.
"I just can't believe he's gone."
"Okay," said Keira. "Do you know
how serious he is? Sometimes
Dad's just blowing off steam."
"He handed me divorce papers
with his signature already on them,"
Dorcas said, and sniffled again.
"Shit," Keira said. "Did you sign?"
"Of course not." Her mother
looked faintly offended. "I told him
I'd have a lawyer look them over."
"Smart move," Keira said.
"Any idea what brought this on?"
Dorcas looked away. "That isn't
something you need to worry about.
This is a disagreement between adults."
Keira's stomach slid into her shoes.
"It's me again, isn't it?" she said.
"He's sick of the family tension.
He doesn't want to keep dealing
with everyone else complaining
about the dyke in the family pond,
or maybe it's the Pagan part again."
"I didn't want this to come up,"
Dorcas said, but didn't disagree.
"Mom, it's nothing he hasn't said over
Thanksgiving dinner," Keira sighed.
"I know," Dorcas said. "I just wish
he wouldn't drag you into this.
It sets a terrible example."
"Well, that's Dad," said Keira.
"You said it." Then Dorcas
started crying all over again.
Keira passed her a box of
kleenex and patted her back.
Eventually the tears ran down.
"I really resent that Curt did this
during the holidays," Dorcas said.
"Totally a dick move," Keira said.
"I mean, he's my dad, but right now
I am completely ticked with him.
Are you going to tell everyone else
today, or wait until later on?"
"I have to," Dorcas said.
"Otherwise the gossip mill
will get to it first, and that's
not fair to the rest of the family."
"Good point," said Keira.
"What's worse, I need to find
a new place to live, because we'll
have to sell the house to split equity
from the mortgage," Dorcas said.
"The paperwork will be easier if
we vacate by the end of the year."
"That's less than two weeks,"
Keira said, frowning. "Not
much time to find anything,
even if it's the off-season and
most tourist places are empty."
* * *
This poem is long, so the character, location, and content notes will appear elsewhere.
[To be continued ...]