outwait outrun outwit


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10.06.03, monday night

Feuds run in our family; we're a stubborn people. My mother's brother and sister have not exchanged a word in decades. Of course, they attend the same parties but neither will acknowledge the other's presence. They seem content to be just on the periphery of each other's lives, attired in their best clothes.

Sometimes I wonder if the original reason for their feud still stands. The same ol' story must bore after 20-odd years. You can't expect to keep it intact for the rest of your lives and still maintain your dignity. Your friends aren't young anymore. They've seen people die. They've seen ideas, governments, fashion, even their own national identities change, abruptly or quietly, to wear new meanings or that addictive perfume called nostalgia. Eyes roll every time they hafta re-tell that stupid story of why we're not talking to each other.

So we have to keep on re-inventing it, going over the seams and the stains with dye, patches and thread, to make it seem fresh, to make our discord more reasonable.

. . .

No, it's really not 'cuz of your arrogant vandal thug of a boyfriend. No, it's not 'cuz you're living in sin or had a secret child. No, it's not 'cuz you don't believe in God. This time it's cuz you've always been a wretched sister. You made me sleep in a closet teeming with cockroaches. You killed my dog. You've never listened. You're selfish; you only talk about your art and your friends. You've never held me when I felt like shit. You are always ruining something for me.

. . .

And these stories, true or not, they take a life of their own. They take our lives. They replace us in memory. They become more substantial than flesh because, I suppose, there's nothing (no one) left to retract, forgive or cherish.


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