I needed to temper the bad situation that was growing larger and larger and I knew I could not win any battles against my historically martinet and erudite mother, so my best defense was to cut communication with my parents completely. I did not want to deal with my learned mother”s maudlin tears and disingenuous pleas to see me, when I knew she was only trying to control me and save face in Dayton. Wise Dr. Minor was a sacrosanct figure in the valley, our scholarly small town hero who was nice enough to come back and better the lives of everyone. I thought she could help ease my burden the way she mollified the town with her mere scholastic presence.
My school career and long-term aspirations were held in abeyance until I could get accepted into veterinary school, stalling my life and making me panic. When I was in high school, and not so jaded by life, Mary’s stories and living example of success kindled confidence in me that I could reach my dreams if only I tried, and now I was beginning to realize it might take more than just bookish desire and persistence to reach my ultimate goal. I went to Nevada in hopes of mitigating the situation. I arrived in Nevada at the acme of Mary’s grief over her very recently deceased father–the condolence flowers still adorned the Cabin-Mansion. Maybe Mary invited me to assuage her pain of losing her father. It’s possible I was meant to take Brenna’s place, or soften the loss of her 17 year old niece, at least. . .
I was stricken by how Mary’s current lavish financial situation was quite different as well since she was at the zeneith of her veterinary career rather than trying to scratch and claw her way to success as she had been during my high school days. Also upon my return, I noted Mary and Kathy had analogous hair cuts: Tall, flouncy curls on top of the head, which shone an unnaturally light blond considering their generous ages. Almost a month after I arrived at the Cabin-Mansion I noticed a certain dissonance in Kim and Mary’s relationship, but could not place it, because I had never been let entirely into their personal lives before. Wanting to get my priorities straight, I would plan to go home and study every night, but when I got there found myself satiated with food, liberal amounts of alcohol, and fun. The constant bonomy at the Cabin-Mansion was contrary to any academic mindset, and the atmosphere lured me further from my studious endeavors and closer to the bottle. The stentorian din of Kim’s television, which had been purchased with gambling winnings, made Mary crazy and moody. Despite claims that she was more laid-back in her middle age, I quickly discovered Mary was far more mercurial than I remembered, using her significant brainpower to manipulate others rather than to help them.
I had never realized my long-time hairdresser was a mendacious snake who constantly gossiped and permissively manipulated everyone around her. In an affected manner, the hairdresser told me how she had absolutely no time after caring for three houses (hers, her ex-husband’s, and her daughter’s) and her business so she would really appreciate it if I would alleviate some of her stress and take her place house-sitting for her best friend over the next week. My perception of Kathy and Mary had changed from respectable adults, savvy business-women, loyal family-members and in Mary’s case, mentor, to meretricious and untrustworthy women both going through a pathetic mid-life-crises.
Though Mary had been adamant about how my relationship with my parents was none of her business, and how she would progressively stay out of it, she preceded to castigate me in length about her generous disappointment over it when I summoned up enough courage (and drank enough red wine) to ask her directly if she wanted me to move. I was certain Mary’s horrible treatment of me was only meant to forestall any confessions of her private behavior to her admirers–I did nothing wrong (that she knew about). Mary set out to annihilate and repudiate my character within her own opinion, the town of Dayton, and the veterinary community at large–she meant war. It felt like there were a confluence of people turning against me, which only served to make me want to drink more to assuage my hurt feelings.
Living in the Cabin-Mansion was repressive because not only did Mary outlaw any drunken, bathetic scenes, she allowed no emotional responses in her presence. My close relationship with the tolerant, Kim was one of the only things that extenuated the increasingly distressing situation, even though bounteous amounts of alcohol were almost always proximate when we were together. After several drunken incidents, association with an open lesbian, and a lot of malicious talk from my parents, my reputation quickly became marred in the tiny, narrow-minded town. Dayton’s quixotic perceptions of Mary caused her and her inner circle great pride. . . And horrible feelings of inadequacy–it was impossible to live up to such high standards. I felt my latitudinarian drinking was an ephemeral phase and right of passage, and did not take it seriously when people (with ulterior motives) accused me of being an alcoholic. Anyone would have trouble maintaining two financial situations in two different states while working part-time and attending school full-time in a city an hour away, but having undergrad loan sharks pestering me at all hours and my landlord calling for missing rent checks made me feel even more like a mendicant and loser. After a few months, a plethora of accusations, and some real consequences of drinking, I began to realize munificent alcohol was making me more capricious than ever before, and the sloppy behavior might not be exclusively due to Mary’s constant animosity towards me.
To palliate my growing depression and irritableness, I just had to keep reminding myself that my stay in Nevada was evanescent and I would be going back to my cozy apartment and familiar job in Missouri soon. Both Kim and my father tried to palliate the situation without really standing up to their ornery wives, and it made me angry and cantankerous that though the two loved me, and knew I was being unfairly victimized, they refused to take any real action.Living in the Cabin-Mansion made me constantly lament for the happy past which had been nothing like the current dysfunctional situation. Irascible Mary liked me better as a teenager, because she saw potential in me, and I was a completely malleable candidate for her inner circle who she could groom however she saw fit. As a whole, 2007 was so volatile because it was an important juncture in many aspects of my life, and that terrified me.