Minnesota. Minnesota where every moment is like my name said wrong because every time they say it they say it that way. Minnesota where everybody has to be nice and where when I was younger I believed it but now I'm old enough to see and understand, now I've developed the othersight enough to sense the webs that vibrate as they interact. My mother's mother's house. My father's parents' house, complete with a great-uncle I haven't seen since I was seven, my Nana, her Alzheimer's getting worse, my Papa. My uncle and aunt and three perfect cousins, my adolescent sister the very picture of pre-teen. My parents trying to make us look like the nuclear family, the lines of strain on my mothers face, my father not there at all. When he goes into that house he goes back to a time when he really believed that the life they lived was the way everyone did. Daddy had a steady job, Mom worked a little sometimes, but mostly took care of the house. They were truly happy, I think, and when he goes back there he tries so hard to submerge himself in that again. In the idea of daughters who grow up to marry Prince Charming, of sons who grow up and go to Serve Their Country and then to A Good School. And then found a family and repeat the process, accumulating assets and trimming the hedges, and the world stays in the newspaper. The bad guy always has a black moustache and the good guy always wins, when he goes back to that house. Mother hates it. It scares me. Just being here scares me. They've gotten better since I went away. They're happier, they're closer, they don't go to therapy anymore. The image has gotten easier to maintain. I watched, all through this vacation they took, as they tried to make me accept it, loked at me with faces that begged me not to ask, not to say anything. Not to make trouble, not to stir the cauldron that still bubbles its merry brew of fear and bitterness beneath the surface. So I sat there, my purple hair the only sign that I am any different from the rest. I smiled, and I helped, and I was my father's eldest daughter. Old men I barely know pounded me on the back and called me Honey. Anyone female was referred to as Gal. My father's clear-cut east coast speech faded into a scandinavian minnesota accent, my Nana spoke of times long gone and people dead for years as if they were in the living room, and I watched. I used to find comfort there. I used to believe in it too. Now, I've found my own comfort, my own belief, my own life. I don't go to Mass on Christmas Eve, I don't eat the Christmas Ham, I don't want to marry Prince Charming and ride into any sunset on the back of some white horse. Me, I want a cute lesbian with a motorcycle, and we'll eat tofu and bean sprouts in the middle of the night at Stonehenge, and dye our hair in the utility sink. My parents will deal. Or maybe I just won't mention it until Brynne does something outrageous.
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