Thursday, August 28, 2008
You know in those Bourne Identity movies how Matt Damon enters a restaurant and without even looking up from his menu he can tell that there is a man inside a phone booth across the street wearing a red tie and that the man dresses himself on the left side and speaks with a German accent? Well I’m kinda’ like that except of course I only have one passport and no muscle. I have no interest in what color tie anyone is wearing at any given moment but as the adult child of an alcoholic I can tell you the mood of everyone else in the restaurant right on down to the dishwasher and whether or not he is on edge and might need some alone time. My dad has been friends with Bill W for about 16 years. I am not supposed to write that. I think. Anonymous and all. In Health class in the 10th grade we watched an after-school special starring Martin Sheen as an alcoholic father. In the movie he drank straight from the bottle and then flew into a rage and kicked the patio furniture into the swimming pool. We had a pool but no plastic patio furniture so I was in the clear and spent the class writing notes to my friend Tawna. Are you and Jason going to do it? Priorities. At night the lamps in my house would be dimmed and my dad would disappear into his office with a glass of cognac and some pot. My mom would have to remind my brother and I to turn down the tv. Our house was quiet and we all spent the evening in our respective bedrooms. Bryan does not know how to read moods. He has muscle but only one passport like myself and he cannot ever tell when I want to be left alone. Is that Halle Berry? He leans over my shoulder when I am at the computer looking at a photo of Kim Kardashian’s butt. No, I say, the lights around me dim. Are you sure? he asks. Bryan’s mother does not know Bill W., nor does she need to meet his acquaintance. And so Bryan leans down farther into my personal space and I can feel my chest tightening. Zoey is not a morning person. Nor is she a 4pm person. Or a person who takes the tear in a Hello Kitty sticker in stride. She does not like hair in her face or cheese in her eggs. She does not take kindly to whistling. Instinctively I know these things, not just because I am her mother but because I am codependent, hypervigilant to any change in the air around me. She hates me, Bryan says sometimes and of course he is wrong. It’s just that he is healthy and cannot tell that when she sits in that corner of the couch with her sippy cup tilted at an angle just so that it all means to give her some space. And me? I know because I am an al-anon action hero, a codependent CIA operative who will forever study the menu feeling the mood. p.s. True to my codependent label I must make it clear that my dad is now sober, has made his amends. He is a wonderful father and nothing like Martin Sheen. And I am nothing like Matt Damon. Although Bryan is very much like Franka Potente. Scheiße Manni!
Posted by Petunia Face at 10:48 AM