A Family Party

Emerging from the chilly minivan
Being sent to light the candles in the window
Anticipating the two-hour trek back home
Seeing my aunts and uncles prattling on
Watching my cousins play with each other
Watching everyone else love each other
Hiding in the corner with the television on
Hoping for someone to pretend to love me
Feeling the energy from the others
Bubbling over in grief and anger
Bubbling over in sheer, sheer boredom
Cooking with oil that dripped onto my skin
Burning me like the anger I felt
Having to travel to this place year after year
Enduring the constant questioning and internal judgments
Pretending that they know me when they never have and never will
Wondering when it's time to go home
Feeling that it's time to go home
Saying that it's time to go home?
Saying that it's time to go home!
Celebrating the goodbyes
Reveling in the packed-up car
Delighting when my father pulls away
Grasping for a promise that this is the last time
Realizing that I must see this "family" again

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