Sometimes, I Just Don’t Want to be With Family

My brother, Sam, asked my parents for money. This is the second time he’s borrowed from them (and never paid them back)! He has this addiction to credit cards. That’s one of the reasons that Eva divorced him. The other was religious. He’s devoutly atheist now and she’s a Mormon. Eva is a very traditional Mormon, strict even, in how she lives. I heard about Sam’s request from my sister who heard it from my other sister who talked to Dad.

Who said gossip wasn’t an issue in families? The only secret in a family is the one everyone knows about, but pretends not to in front of the person trying to hide his problems.

S.M. and I are going to my parent’s house this weekend. Everyone will be there to celebrate Dad’s birthday.

“I don’t want to go,” I said to S.M.

S.M. was channel surfing on YouTube. He glanced up from his screen, the blue light reflecting off of his face. “You have to.”

He’s right, I thought. “But I can’t stand how we act like everything is okay, when it’s not.”

“What did Jesus say about that?” S.M. put down his tablet and leaned back against the cushions of the couch.

“Love them. It’s easier to love our friends than it is to love our enemies, but that’s what he wants us to do.” I couldn’t remember the verse location. It’s somewhere in the New Testament.

“Love our enemies.” S.M. frowned and said, “Family should be under the context of friends.”

“Not when they act up like that! And use people!” My voice rose.

“We can’t get involved. This is your parent’s situation.” S.M. went back to his tablet.

I scowled at the floor. Georgia sensed my irritation and jumped up on the arm of the couch. She stepped onto my lap and rubbed her face against my chin. I ran my hand along her back, and she leaned into my palm.

I guess all families have these issues whether it’s a Mormon or Christian family. I picked up my book. It’s a romance novel. Not those kind of romance novels with sex scenes in them, but the clean kind. It’s nice to step into an imaginary world where all arguments are neatly wrapped up at the end of the last chapter and everyone loves each other again.

Love is so much more complicated in real life. It’s a verb. You have to choose every day to love someone, even someone like Sam.



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