On Tuesdays, I write slices of stories from my week! All are welcome! Join us at Two Writing Teachers!
It had been a nearly perfect week. Family meals, evening games, conversations... we'd had a lot of people in the house, and sisters, notorious for snapping and overreacting, had laughed and related. Everyone felt like friends instead of people I had to manage.
On the almost last night, the dog got into a container of vitamins. (Winnie has been known to do that. She loves to chew the crotches of underpants, leggings, and even jeans, and she is a canine magician when it comes to getting tops off of anything. Fortunately, she seems to have a stomach of steel and a highly functional digestive system.)
"They weren't mine," Larkin snapped when Garth came down with the bottle.
"No one accused you," I said.
"Yes, you were," she said.
We continued with a dysfunctional conversation that mattered much less than how worried we should be about Winnie (who, spoiler-alert, was fine). Finally, we stopped, but tension fogged the air.
Then, at dinner, the comment between the sisters about driving.
"I'll go with you," Clare said to Larkin, "but as long as I drive."
Background info: Clare is younger than Larkin, but has always regarded herself as the better driver. At 16 and 19, that probably wasn't the case. Now, at 22 and 25, I get more work done in the passenger seat when Clare is driving. Please don't tell Larkin.
With the boyfriends in the audience, Clare's comment lit a fuse. Garth and I worked to change the topic. Quickly. For the moment, the fuse fizzled, but didn't go out. I don't even remember what set it off again later that night during a card game, but something did-- this time between Larkin and me.
"It's the night before you're leaving," I said. "Can we just let it go?"
Neither of us could. Neither of us did.
"Why do we always have to end my visits in a fight?" Larkin asked once we settled back down. "It's such a pattern."
At least this time, it wasn't exactly her last night with us since we were all together again for a night in Rhode Island at our house near the beach. And, as it turned out, that night was great.
Maybe the fighting makes it easier for her to leave. Maybe it helps me miss her less. Maybe it helps both of us handle being a half a country away for most of the time.
Maybe next time I'll make sure this doesn't happen.