Autumn has arrived and with it, more uncertainty. Sure, life has fallen into a type of routine… a crazy routine with two sets of twins. Keniesha and I aren’t doing much better. She doesn’t want to talk about the fight we had and I can tell she’s still feeling somewhat hostile toward me.
Mango and Liev still get along fine; business as usual. But there’s a tension in the air now that at times is so thick, it could be cut with a knife.
Once in a while, I’m able to leave the house long enough to enjoy a horseback ride. I love the babies, but I look forward to when they’re a bit older and able to enjoy some of these activities with me.
Meanwhile, whenever Keniesha and I are in the same room, which is pretty often, the temperature drops about twenty degrees. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know if it can be repaired.
At least she shows my children lots of affection. It’s plain to see she cares deeply for Leo and Jilly.
I know I haven’t been writing regularly as I should. It really helps me think things out when I do. I just feel so tired and worn. There’s a pent up anger or something inside of me and the more I try to ignore it, the more it feels like it’s building up.I don’t want to talk to Liev about it as he has enough on his mind and he’s been consoling me non-stop over my despair regarding my sister.
I desperately miss the girl talks I used to have with Keniesha. Whenever I try to talk to her lately, though, I’m met with a cold shoulder. But I still try.
“I’d like to throw Tia and Grace a birthday party,” I mentioned one afternoon. I thought this might make her happy. “I have a really good cake recipe I want to try out and I could decorate it with pretty little flowers.”
“Thank you, but that won’t be possible,” she responded. “Mango and I are taking the girls to his parents’ so they can celebrate with them.”
“Why are you being so cold? You know I’ve watched these girls since they were born and that I’ve been looking forward to their birthday!”
She sighed and pointed that dang finger at me. “Well, like many things in life, this isn’t about you.”
Dear Lord, if I had to hear one more time about everything not being about me, I think I’d scream! I prayed silently to the ceiling before speaking again.
“I’m not trying to make this about me. I just want to be there. I love them like my own.”
She was so calm, it infuriated me all the more. How had our relationship gotten so far off track?
“I can’t do this right now with you, Memphis. We’ve already told Mango’s folks we’ll be there and I’m not cancelling on them. You shouldn’t expect me to. They are the girls’ grandparents after all.”
“I don’t expect you to cancel. I just wish — ” I stopped, biting my lower lip to keep from crying, “– I wish things could be like they were before.”
Keniesha looked like she might cry. But she didn’t. Instead she raised her chin defiantly and said, “Well, I’m sorry. Nothing will ever be like it was before.”
Why? I wanted to scream. But I knew why. I’d basically killed her parents just because they had adopted me. And there was not a single thing that could ever make that right again.
Then, Keniesha said what I’d been dreading…
“I honestly don’t mean for this to sound so abrupt but Mango’s promotion came through and we’ve bought a house. We close on it in a couple days so after we come back from his parents’, we’ll pack our things and move.”
Just. Like. That.
I was stunned into silence.
There wasn’t much to say after that. So, I focused on the children as best I could. I would miss the girls so much when they moved out; thinking of them not being there left a lump in my throat and a tightness in my chest.
And, I spent some time outdoors, visiting the new little colt who had been foaled. Adorable, isn’t he?
Still, nothing could remove the sadness that made my heart so heavy these days.
Before long, the day came. Keniesha, Mango and the girls arrived back from their weekend visit with the folks. I took several pictures of Tia and Grace who were now toddlers and I tried to fight down the resentment that I hadn’t been there to celebrate with them.
In my book, these little girls couldn’t be any cuter if they tried.
And I played with them outdoors while Keniesha and Mango packed their belongings and put them in the moving truck they’d rented.
I held each small girl, hoping they’d remember me. Okay, so they weren’t moving to Timbuktu, but this really felt like a serious goodbye.
When they’d gone to start their new lives, I busied myself in the garden. After a while, Liev came out, carrying the baby monitor and pieces of a t-shirt he had cut into strips.
“Leo and Jilly are sleeping.” When I didn’t answer, he continued, “I need to talk to you about something.” He waited but I just couldn’t think about whatever he was going to say right now. “I, uh, quit my job. I thought I should help around here more. We’re making good money with what we harvest now and …” His voice trailed off.
Pulling at weeds, I barely acknowledged what he’d said.
The skin on my bare hands stung as I haphazardly yanked the invading weeds away. My mind raced as I thought about the future birthdays I would miss and how my children would grow up barely even knowing their cousins.
Liev quietly began to tie in a plant using the cut up t-shirt. He was silent now but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to even wonder what he was thinking or feeling. I wanted to care, but honestly, I just didn’t.
“You know,” I finally said, not pausing from my work, “all I ever wanted was a family. A close one. And now it’s gone. Just like that.”
His voice was calm but the tension beneath the tone was palpable. “It isn’t gone. You have a pretty nice family here, if you ask me.”
I resisted the overwhelming urge to roll my eyes. “I know that. I’m talking about my sister and her husband and kids. And you knew that.”
He sighed softly but he didn’t pause from what he was doing. “Yes, I did.” Finally, he moved on to the next plant. “Keniesha will come around. You’re both just really angry and emotional right now.”
And that was the statement – the straw – that broke the camel’s back. I suddenly threw down my trowel and trudged off. If I was expecting him to stop what he was doing and run after me, I would have a long wait. Instead, he didn’t even look up, but kept tying in that plant as if nothing had happened.
Just like a stalker, I found myself at my sister’s new house near the stadium. Why did I feel so disgusted that it was absolutely beautiful? A good sister would be glad for her. In my mind, I knew that my emotions about this were out of control. This feeling of anger and betrayal had become so intense that it had settled deep within me and I couldn’t seem to shake it.
I sat in the car imagining all the fun she was having with her family… without me and my husband and kids in her life. What I needed to do was go to the door and tell Keniesha that we needed to stop this cold war we had going on. But something stopped me. I don’t know what. My knuckles turned white as I gripped the steering wheel. But still, I made no effort to fix this mess.
After sitting there like an idiot for the longest time, I finally went back home and tried to focus on my life there. It was all I had left.