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11:36 a.m. - 2011-09-09
I know this song.

I've been hesitant to say anything about this here. But screw it, if the list of stuff I can't/won't talk about in this journal gets any longer I'll be reduced to writing about the lamest shit ever. Scintillating discussions about the merits of no-pest strips vs citronella candles, the wonders of fabric softener and how much I like the new aprons for the checkers at Shoprite. So here goes.

First the backstory. MIL has two cousins, the children of her only uncle, Gram's brother. The female cousin is a sweetie. Weird, had a hard life, is waaaaaaaaay too emotionally invested in her dog, but a sweet lady nonetheless. Her brother, MIL's other cousin, is a scumbag. Has always been a scumbag so it's not like this incident is without precedent or some wild deviation of character. George is a world-class mooch, has a vague 'career' which involves a lot of travel, and usually shows up every few months with a new Spanish-speaking 'wife' in tow. Best we can figure out George is a coyote- someone who smuggles illegal aliens in from Mexico for money. He also moves merchandise that fell off trucks. And visits when he wants something- money usually, but sometimes to lay low for a few days. Whether he's avoiding the law or other criminals is unknown. So you understand we're talking a real douche here. Major scum.

Gram's funeral. George appeared sans 'wife'. As he had the month previous without an invite to crash on MIL's couch. This was while Gram was being cared for in MIL's back bedroom. Just showed up and expected to be catered to while MIL's mother, his only aunt, was dying down the hall. In fact he helped himself to MIL's computer without asking, and the computer was in the same room as Gram. Right? This shameless asshole is sitting there surfing for porn right next to his dying aunt.

Anyway, the funeral. The service is over and we're all gathered at that strange little restaurant for a meal and post-funeral fellowship. I was chatting with Mick's nephew and some other person who I'd just met when George slipped in behind me. He pressed his crotch into my right butt cheek, snaked an arm around my back and groped my left breast. Stunned and furious I jumped away and after giving George a disgusted look I moved across the room. I didn't say anything about George's lechery. At least not right then. It was Gram's funeral! Everybody who cared about her was destroyed. Bent with grief. Me making a stink was the last thing anyone needed. So I held my peace. I wasn't about to let that asshole make the memory of Gram's funeral a million times more painful for everybody.

It was a few days later when I quietly told Mick what had happened. As I knew he would Mick went crazy. Furious. Enraged. If George had been around Mick would have killed him on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Slimy Cousin George had copped a feel off his beloved wife at a funeral! Mick could hardly get his mind around such an outrageous affront. To me. To him. To Gram and all the people who loved her. Absolutely bug-eyed with fury Mick calls his mother and tells her what happened. MIL's response was lukewarm at best. But Mick was so angry MIL's tepid reaction didn't really register. He just kept growling and spitting invective until MIL agreed to ban George from her house. Fine. It was something anyhow. He then wrote a scathing email to George, calling him out and warning him to stay the hell out of NY. For good. Do NOT show himself to the family again or Mick would break his neck.

Now instead of the apology Mick expected George sent back a mealy-mouthed dribble of excuses. There was a misunderstanding. He'd done no such thing. I had the facts wrong. He was only being friendly and I misconstrued it. It was an accident. On and on with the most self-serving weaseling bullshit you can imagine. Listen, I'm crashed into all the time by my Aspies. I jolly well know the difference between accidents and assaults. I also know goddamn well when someone's grinding against my ass and grabbing a handful of my breast. This pig groped me. Nothing ambiguous about it at all.

Mick's fury was hotter than the sun. Again he gets on the phone with his mother and shrieks out his disgust and anger. And again Mick misses MIL's unenthused response and her vague non-agreement to George's being shamed in front of the whole family and banned clan-wide. Basically she just placated Mick until he got off the phone, MIL had no intention of breaking relations with George. He's family.

Months go by and George starts creeping in around the edges again. He'd been at his sister's last time MIL called and she talked with him for a bit. Gee it was swell of George to squat at his sister's house and eat all her food. Great guy that George. A new picture of him went up on the fridge. Shit like that. He hadn't made a personal appearance at MIL's yet but it was only a matter of time. Mick was unaware of all this, he still thought George was gone forever. I was grateful MIL's broken foot killed our going to the gym, she'd started relating all the 'George is a swell guy' news to me while we were on the treads. And I'd had enough. She refused to take the hint when I said I didn't care to hear about George. Every gym day it was more and more singing George's praises. Zero respect for my feelings. Zero respect for her son's feelings. Zero gestalt about what George had done to me. Zero.

Now toward the end of the broken foot ordeal Mick picked up MIL's mail at the post office and there was a big package from Cousin George the Swell Guy. Mick raced back to his mother's house and demanded an explanation. And finally it comes out about how MIL never truly shunned George and anyway he's family. Horrified, Mick asks his mom what he is then? A duck? A fool? A nothing whose feelings didn't count for jack shit? Every single day for the past six weeks Mick had been there. Taking care of her and FIL and the house and the yard. Doing the grocery shopping and the mail runs and ferrying her to the doctor. And this is what he gets back? A piece of crap like George, George who'd put hands on me- LA the supposedly beloved daughter-in-law, and HE gets the respect? George the slimeball is more important than us?


MIL launched into her defense. She'd had her boobs touched dozens of times, they stick out, it happens. Anyway I had it wrong. I was making a big deal over nothing. Mick needed to get a grip. And besides if what George did was so horrible why hadn't I screamed the place down when it happened? See? Nothing happened. Couldn't have, I hadn't made a stink at the time.

Around and around they went. Mick's screaming and crying he's in so much pain from his mother's indifference to his feelings and to me. He felt completely betrayed. MIL's feeble excuse making and defense of George was heartbreaking. See, in saying what she did and stubbornly sticking to it she was insisting that I was a liar or an idiot who can't tell the difference between a hug and a grope or some prima-donna making a fuss over nothing, George grabbed my boob and pressed his dick into my ass at Gram's funeral, big deal. In any case she wasn't about to be bullied by Mick about this. Mick could take a hike. He did. Storming out and vowing not to return until his mother straightened out her priorities and loyalties. He was done being Schmuck Son.

Of course when Mick got home and told me all this he was angry and in so much pain that any feelings I had about this bitch slap from MIL went by the wayside, my man was hurting and I had to help. Priority one. We talked and talked and talked. I helped Mick sort it out and we doped out ideas about what he'd like to do and what result he wanted. Mick went upstairs eventually and wrote his mother a very straightforward cogent email outlining exactly why he was upset. Explained how her words and actions looked from his point of view. It was a good letter. Honest and free of nastiness and intentional wounding.

The next day Mick gets a reply. Now MIL understood why Mick was so upset. She was so, so sorry. He was a wonderful son and she loved him. If this was what he needed to be happy then George was history. Done. Would he please forgive her and make up?

There was not one word about me in her reply. No apologies sent my way. The entire letter was a contrite love note to Mick, which God forgive me but I believe was only sent so MIL wouldn't lose her errand boy. Realizing no Mick was a hell of a lot more inconvenient than no George, it came down to MIL being shrewdly practical. Kiss up to her kid and keep all the landscaping/chauffeur services. Or keep George who runs up her phone bill and never treats for dinner when he crashes there. I wasn't in the equation at all.

Mick was so happy to have his mom back it took a while before he twigged to why I was still sad. By this time the burn of having yet another mother whose loyalty to a man let her excuse and turn a blind eye to a sexual assault on my body was sinking into my bones. Like white phosphorus. I spun into a very, very bad place. Wounded. Shell shocked by betrayal. Damning myself for ever being fool enough to believe I was a loved daughter. That this time was different. This mother truly loved me, right? Yeah. Right.

Mick hurt with and for me. He encouraged me to write to MIL too. To have my say. I turned it down. What's the point? I see quite clearly who and what I am to her. Been there. Done that. Have the bumper-sticker. Saying something will just buy me more hurt. More shit I'm going to have to pretend doesn't bother me later on. Told Mick I simply needed time. Time to digest. Time to find an empty pocket in my soul to stuff this into and then I'll get on with things. No worries I was going to make him the bone between me and his mother. There's enough family feuds in my life, I'm not starting another. Just to please give me some space and I'll be okay enough. Not like I don't have experience with this sort of thing.

That was two weeks ago. I did my crying. Still not 100% but it'll be fine. I spoke to MIL on the phone yesterday for the first time since the George battle and she didn't say a bloody thing about anything except her foot and how hard it's been to keep up with the housework since I hadn't been over to help her with it in a while. Ooo! And the guilt stick hit is deflected. I stayed pleasant but showed no interest in going over there to do her dusting. Nor did I apologize for my absence. Whatever. At least this time I didn't slobber and grovel and beg to be loved as I used to do.

Like I said, if there's a rift it won't come from me. I'll do my part. Smiling. Fixing the fucking holiday meals. Showing up at birthdays. Friendly if not overly enthusiastic. I know what my duty is and I'm not going to make Mick pay by being on the outs with MIL. Hurts though. Hurts a lot. Think this one will finally learn me though. I'm done being anybody's daughter. It's a suck ass job and I don't want it anymore. Or ever. But don't be surprised when MIL starts showing up here again. Like the creeping reappearance of Slimy George, time will pass and I'll make sure it looks all creamy again. Least I can do for Mick who really does love me.

Families suck sometimes, they really do. ~LA

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