Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Comfort Me With......

A day off. A much needed and earned day of rest and relaxation after a week of harried working the sales floor, alone for some of the day, crazy-ass and damn near incoherent phone calls, dudes like the afore mentioned Leroy and yet another busy weekend working with one staff member too few. Wrecked. Been physically wrecked for the better portion of the week and while I love being busy I was so ready to just puddle on the couch yesterday afternoon.

Still in my jammies at 2:00, unwashed beyond the late night bath I just had to take after too many martinis at my beloved Tracy’s, (um, note to self, remove razor from tub before buzzy bathing. Drunk girls and razors are or can be, in my case, a rather unfortunate combination…it will grow back but…dammit) chili dog sinking in my gut and plumping out my already inner tube like middle, hair pulled back in a wild mass of steam and bed gnarled curls, glass of pink wine sweaty at my side. Off to a good start right? One would think….

Just settling into my flow of uber annoying facebook statuses when I got a message. A message from my brother once again asking me, giving me shit as to why I have not friended him there. I read the message and felt the shift of the chili dog as I twisted and squirmed a bit trying to figure out how best to handle this, again. My brother and I share a sister and nothing else. We did not really grow up together and the few times he was submerged in my life it was absolutely awful. Drug addicted, drunk, thief, the only badges my brother has ever really earned in my life. He doesn’t see it that way of course, he thinks blood is thicker than water or whatever bullshit but to me the not brief enough time my brother was involved in our lives this is what I knew. He will never own what he has done to all of us and will forever feel a sense of entitlement as the “elder sibling”. Okay, fine. I will give him older but nothing else. Might sound terribly harsh to many of you, I know he would be pissed to hear that and would likely tell me that I owed him some level of respect because we are family….again, I don’t subscribe to that bloodline nonsense. My brother was very bright, shared my mother’s gift for drawing, was a soldier and became a father right around the same time I became a mother but, he chose or let drugs…and all that they entail, be the only real drive he ever had, over everything else and I consider our relationship one of the casualties of his personal war.

I learned early and the hard way, that helping him only resulted in hurt, both emotionally and often times, financially and the “help” never really did. One of the few times he was actually working he needed but could not get a bank account, I let him use my savings account to cash his checks. He swore he was clean and on the right path, I gave him a chance and he took every penny I had along with some of my pride. Had to ask my mother to buy milk for my son….even though I had been working to support him and was very proud of that. Never once, even when he was clean apologized for that, referenced it once and blamed the drugs and that was it. There are hundreds of stories and anyone that has dealt with addiction has been through it. After so many years of it, of having things stolen, being lied to, having the landlords from our old apartment call me, at work and tell me that if we didn’t get the furniture and garbage out of the apartment, (the job my mother paid my brother a healthy sum to do) that they were going to hire a cleaning company and send me a bill. Walking into the apartment that I had fled from, cases of empty booze bottles, bags of putrefied food and maggots….cleaning up my brother’s mess once again, well I didn’t have any more in my heart to give. No hatred and no rage, just an overwhelming sense of ambivalence. Sure I still have pangs of sympathy, just as I would with anyone that was leading such a sad life, but much like I have to just pass those people by, heart sinking and all, I have to just keep my brother at a distance. He doesn’t understand it and at times, he gives me some shit for it….price I have been willing to pay.

So the message was alerting me that he had requested my friendship and if I had rather not then just say so. The thing is, I had said so, four times before this message and while my brother is no longer on drugs, he still drinks….heavily and must have no recollection of the four previous times I had, very nicely explained that my friends on facebook are either connected to my job or this blog and I didn’t really want his snide, or what he calls, “funny” wine snob, and “taking his sister down a peg or two” comments all over my page. I don’t want him offending anyone and I sure as shit have no interest in listening to that crap either.  


My chill morning of chili dogs, ponytails, being rather cartoonish…dancing about, making cracks and in turn giving my husband fits of giggles, all of it was gone with the click of a cursor on facebook. Shoulders tight, breath now heavy as I pushed it from my lungs, my just seconds before grinning mug now wearing the years of history, his war, my sympathetic soul trying to see something, anything redeeming or honest in his request, my memories too vivid and the end of this particular rope, gone long ago. So for once, I thought not of his reaction, not about him calling me a “snobby bitch” yet again, not of hurting the feelings of someone that never thought about mine. I just wrote. From my heart…..

I hit send on the short note that condensed many of the things I have been wanting to say for years. Let my, somewhat softened words explain to this stranger that I would not be accepting his request, that we chose different paths and while I’m sorry it may never make sense to him, that I was unwilling to put within his reach all that I have worked so hard for…even in a place as silly as facebook. I reached for my sweaty glass of pink wine only to find that it had been drained as my fingers and our war, was playing out in the message box of a social media website. Took a deep breath and got up from my much adored couch perch, walked away from the laptop that had me feeling like it had betrayed me by allowing this little crack for him to slip in and wreck my much needed….and earned day of rest.  Looked for tasks to busy my mind and body so as to avoid the nasty and sophomoric response I knew was to come. 

Kitchen floor, found distraction on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor. The sweat slipping beneath the waistband on my too-big-for-me jammie bottoms, the smell of Pine Sol swirling around my head as I scrubbed and over scrubbed the residue and buildup created by a woman that finds comfort in the chopping, the wiping of my just-dunked-in-sauce fingers along the side of my jeans. The butter, olive oil, fierce sear of meat, the overzealous stir of white bean and Kale soup, all of it there, on my kitchen floor. Food, flavors, textures, all things that speak to me, bring me pleasure and even in its…less than savory and pleasurable form, the byproducts of my comfort were once again…comforting me.

Hoisted the bucket of now grimy water, still scented with Pine Sol but now dark gray and floating with bits of coffee bean, somewhat alarmingly large dust bunnies, dehydrated nubbins of carrot, celery and onion and more cilantro, (what the hell with that stuff? Sticks to everything!) than I could have ever imagined. Watched it all go down the drain and felt a little relieved both in channeling my oft absent OCD cleaning woman and knowing that the next time I step to my stovetop that none of that shit would be sticking to my feet. Returned the bucket to its home under the sink and decided that I had earned another glass of whatever that pink stuff was that went down so easy.

Grabbed the handle on the fridge and my eyes were distracted by a new piece of paper, attached with a magnet, right beside the picture of me and Tyler making funny faces. “Adult male, 18-64 from Louisville Kentucky to Orange Country California. August 1st” an itinerary, my son’s itinerary for his upcoming visit. My eyes quickly filled with tears and I scanned the freshly washed floor around the stove, smiled as I thought of all the splatters and spills I would be creating when my baby comes home for a visit. While I comfort him with the aromas, textures and flavors of home. Let myself laugh out loud as I thought of him biting into his beloved yeasty rolls stuffed with cream cheese, rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar and baked together in a syrup of more butter and sugar. My smile even broader as I thought about the fact that my son and I speak the same “nose, mouth, heart” language. Comforting…

Opened the fridge and saw the open bottle of Rose that I had been letting keep me company but after the message, the end of my rope, the cleaning and the itinerary, I wanted something more than company, I was craving that feeling of having arms wrapped around me, the soft kiss of someone I loved…I saw the bottle and grabbed my corkscrew. Clos Marie Rose. This fucking wine is now like a lover I cannot get enough of and while I’ve been trying to restrain myself, the day had shifted and I was ready to be made love to, touched and comforted….again. 

Sat on the couch letting the oh so sensual body of that wine wrap around my tongue, tingle the sides of my mouth and force itself down my throat no matter how much I longed to hold it, almost tortuously in my mouth. Each trickle past the back of my tongue, each fleshy drop seeping inside me, each tiny hair inspired to pull away from my skin and stand on end as this meaty, chewy, mineral rich wine filled me. My lips, my tongue, my mouth, my throat….comforted with the familiar touch, taste and texture of true love. Two glasses of seduction later and I found myself moving my cursor, clicking on the response I had been trying to avoid.

“Good point and very well put. Our relationship is what it is and it is probably my fault but it’s cool” now that might sound like much to many of you but, from my view of this particular “front-line”, more than I could have ever hoped for. Like ever. An inkling of accountability…comforting.

Clean kitchen ready for my son’s visit. The afterglow and giggles of a day spent making love to a wine as sexy as I have come across in a very long time. The pride in letting my voice protect…my voice. Fuck relaxing, I choose this….   


John M. Kelly said...

I had a couple of industry types in the shop a couple days ago - tasting room hosts both. One of them was sad that the winery she works for had just fired the manager that had hired and mentored her. Her comment:

"I guess wine is thicker than blood."

Yes it is. I understand your relationship with your half-brother - I have one of those too. My younger brother and I no longer stay in touch. He went into a tailspin of his own doing, pulled my dad in and nearly ruined him, came to be to bail him out after he had bled dad to the point he finally said "enough." My brother won't forgive me for refusing to "help him out" - as if anything I could have done or paid would have made a difference. He thinks that if our situations had been reversed, he would have sacrificed everything he had for me, but I know better - I know him better than he knows himself.

Your brother's reply to your note suggests he may have finally come to know himself as well as you do. That strikes me as "good enough."

Samantha Dugan said...

See, I feel a tighter kinship to you than I do my brother. We understand each other and wine, the words that it can inspire, brought you and I together. Wine is thinker than blood indeed.

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

My brother battled drugs for a VERY long time and has a long list of offenses to be sorry for. I'm glad to say he finally was able to acknowledge and control his addictions. But I can feel his shame and pain every time I talk to him.

I'm just glad I'm the sibling with the minor alcohol addiction. My life has been filled with luck and joy--his with regret, pain and jail time. I sometimes think he should forgive me.

Maybe it's Love that is thicker than blood. We're told to love our family, we choose to love our friends. Sometimes they even choose to love us in return.

It always seems that in ones weakest, most tired, most vulnerable moments, life has a way of testing us. Gathering yourself after such a tough week and using your best and most powerful voice to speak to your brother took a lot out of you, I'm sure. Thank God you had your trusty Rose there to help. And it sounds as though he is finally, finally, hearing you.

I'm very proud to be part of your family.

I love you!

webb said...

Mitchell's oldest son fell into the same problems and we have had to walk away. It was terribly hard to do, but the right thing. Totally understand where you are with this, and support you 100%. It does sound like maybe he is seeing some reality now.

All good. Enjoy your son's visit! and Marie Rose.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Trusty Rose?! More like Lusty Rose and I opened it in a desperate attempt to find my inner sexy....fucking thing has been on vacation for far too long.

I knew of your brother and you and I have shared many stories of dealing with an addicted sibling which is why I thought it might be cool to share mine for those that might not have such a wonderful friend like you to share it with. I love you too!

Now as hard as my story is yours in flecked with the pain of a parent having to make those hard choices. My mother went through the same thing and I am grateful, every day, that my son has not been so thoughtless with his life and future....and my heart. What you and Mitchell have had to endure I can only fearfully imagine. I hope one day that young man stops playing roulette with his life and love. Thanks so much for understanding lady....

Sara Louise said...

I don't think you could have hoped for a better response. Here's hoping that he remembers he sent it to you and moves on. Hugs to you OOO

Samantha Dugan said...

The thing that keeps me moving forward and not sucked into the same vicious vacuum that plagued my mother and still, at times, victimizes my sister....I stopped hoping long ago. At least with respect to my personal relationship with him. I will forever hold out some form of hope that he finds peace and a place in the one and only life he has been given but the damage he has done, to his body, to his me and any chance at a connection we could have had? Those are things too far gone to ever fully restore. Heartbreaking in a way but I can't tie my life to the anchor that he has tied around his ankle. I will not go down with that ship, nor will I let him take anyone else I love with him. If I have to be the bitch, so be it....

Paul Wasserman said...

Samantha that's an awesome post.

Samantha Dugan said...

Well thank you, so much.

Winey the Elder said...

Fuck your give new meaning to the phrase "wine porn"...oh my, oh my! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have "something" to attend to. Your sensual prose never better.

Samantha Dugan said...

Winey the Elder,
That right there, that made me blush! Thanks for the support....and the compliment.

Scott McKinney said...

I can hear you, Samantha. It’s quite difficult to deal with someone on that kind of situation. There are times that you would lose your logic and functions and ask yourself why is it happening to you? I know it’s difficult, but I think there’s no one who can help your brother other than you and your mother. I also came from a situation like yours with my uncle. I always think of him of the worst and our family almost disowned him. However, it was just a pour of emotional stress because of frustration. I wish all of you are in good terms now.

Scott McKinney