The Thing By The Car

Labor Day Weekend 2021 was scheduled to start on Friday at 12:30 EST.

Unfortunately I received a text at 12:24 that shattered any illusions I had about enjoying the last official weekend of the summer that I never got to enjoy, but all of that is for the entry where I whine and cry about the traumas I’ve experienced in the past two weeks.**

Labor Day Weekend was scheduled to end at 10:00 EST on Monday. Then around 9:58 EST this happened.

I was walking down the hall while reading an article on my phone as my mother locked the screen door for the night.

“There was this guy who wanted to lose some weight, so he started exercising and eating better, but he didn’t do anything drastic,” I said still looking at my phone. “He lost ten pounds no problem because he’s a man so of course he would.”
I glanced up to see if my snark was appreciated but it apparently was lost on my mother who was too busy looking out of the screen door as she turned the lock. The porch light was out, and there aren’t any street lights on our block, so I had no idea what she could be seeing in the dark, but I continued with my story.
“But then the guy kept losing weight. He lost twenty pounds, and then another thirty-“
“It looks like there’s a pile of balloons next to my car,” my mother interrupted.
“-pounds,” I finished and then internally shrugged. “Alright.”
“I’m serious, it looks like a bunch of balloons,” she said.
“I believe you,” I told her, not really believing her at all, and continued my story. “But this guy kept losing weight to the point that people thought he was dying. He couldn’t understand it because he had been eating protein powder the entire time to make sure that he didn’t lose muscle weight instead of fat.”
“Come look and tell me you don’t see balloons,” my mother insisted.
I walked to the front door and looked outside. “Well, it turns out that his wife was putting arsenic in his protein powder.”
“You don’t see balloons? By my car?” my mother asked.
I stared at her car. “No, I do not see any balloons. But what I want to know is, given my difficulty in gaining weight, if you’ve been putting arsenic in my protein powder.”
“It looks like balloons! Or an alien. Or an alien holding balloons.”
“No I do not see an alien holding balloons,” I said in my most obnoxiously condescending tone as I finally turned away from the door.
Look!” she insisted again.

And for some reason I did look again, and that was when it suddenly clicked in my head that my mother was pointing to the car she’s had for years, not her new car that I’ve been driving since mine was totaled. Sitting next to the passenger door of her car wasn’t an alien holding balloons, but something almost as bizarre.

“It’s… It’s a giant bear wrapped in cellophane.” I blinked in disbelief.
“And you thought I was crazy!” my mother yelled triumphantly.
“I still think you’re crazy,” I told her as I unlocked the door. “An alien? An alien holding balloons? ‘We come in peace – see, we brought balloons!'”

I stepped outside and crept up on the giant bear.
“Do you want a flashlight?” my mother yelled from the safety of the front door as I confronted the ursine intruder.
“No, it’s definitely a bear,” I yelled back. “A giant pink bear.”
“And there’s no card or note or anything,” I added as I looked closer.
“That’s weird.” My mother came outside and joined me in examining the package. “I wonder if one of your uncles sent it.”
“Why would one of my uncles send me a giant pink bear?”
“Well, they know you’re not feeling well.”
“And you think that they would think that sending me a giant pink bear would help?”
“There’s chocolate too.” Mom pointed to the gold box sitting in front of the bear.
“Okay, that would help.”

I looked on the ground around the package to see if a card had fallen off and finally shrugged. “I guess we might as well bring it inside.”
“Maybe you have a secret admirer,” Mom suggested as I carried the bear through the front door.
“Why are you assuming this is even for me? It could be for you. Maybe you have a secret admirer.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“I don’t know. You’ve been looking awfully cute lately. Everyone has said how they like your silver hair.”
Mom waved away the idea.
“This is probably some warped joke, and for anyone who’s listening I do not want to play a game,” I shouted at the bear.

I set the bear down in the hall where the dogs and the cat proceeded to give it the sniff-degree.
“I’ve had it. I’m going to bed,” I said as I started up the stairs. “I’m sure the cellophane will keep it trapped if it comes alive.”

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that around midnight I had received a series of texts from the 15 year-old next door:

Hey 🙂
I hate to bother you at such a late time but I have a question.
I think you may have taken something of mine by accident.
It’s a pink teddy bear with chocolate.
If you do please keep it there if you don’t mind and I’ll pick it up from your backyard around 9 if that’s okay. I have to pick it up at that time because my mom doesn’t know I’m dating someone.😁

So not only was there a giant pink bear in my house, but I was now an accomplice in the illicit love affair of my teenage neighbor. And me being me I started overthinking and wondering if I was now responsible for telling her that her body is hers and no one has any right to it no matter how many ridiculously huge teddy bears that they leave by your neighbor’s car because consent is everything, and if anything is consented to then please do it in a responsible and safe way. Then I remembered that she is being raised in a normal, stable family with boundaries – hence not being allowed to date – and didn’t need my anxious dysfunctional attempt to adult at her.

But all I can say is thank God that this episode didn’t happen this week because I would’ve torn into that chocolate.

~~~~~~~

**I’m doing my best to not have two “heavy” entries in a row, but, as I was recently reminded, I write my best when I just write what I’m feeling from my heart, without thinking or censoring or editing myself. This is difficult to do when you feel like hell and your heart is hurting. It’s even worse when the hurt is from people you trusted or care about because I also have a rule where I don’t put anything on the internet that I’d be wouldn’t be okay with absolutely every single person in the world reading. Not only am I not naïve enough to believe that my corner of the ‘net couldn’t be found by anyone who looked, I’m also not someone who hides behind a pen name to talk shit. I thought a lot about the entry that will come after this one, and I’m willing to take the risk that people won’t believe me or think I’m overacting, in addition to the risk of the perpetrator reading my entry and finding out that, despite my feigned ignorance, I’ve always been aware of everything. This unfortunately might lead to a disruption in my health since this is a healthcare provider, but I’m willing to accept that because I can’t take it anymore.

Anyway.

Writing was once one of the few things that I thought I was good at, that came naturally, that I even…believed. And I’m afraid that I’ve lost it. I’m really afraid that it’s gone. Almost all of the entries that I’ve done in the past year sound like garbage, including this one. I’m forcing a “fluffy” entry with this bear story and it shows. The only thing that doesn’t keep me from hanging up my keyboard is that I can still feel some words left in me, but they’re ugly and painful, and they’ve been suppressed for so long that they festered into something that needs to be lanced. So I’m tearing the blade across the thick skin I’ve developed to keep the pain in and the world out and following this pustulant flow to see if it leads to something I’ve lost, or if bleeding the poison was all that I had left.

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