Archive for December 28th, 2009

After the graduation ceremony, I was so caught up in my joy over my sister that I wanted to race to the portico to celebrate with her. My friend is the one who pulled me back to reality. She said that there are a ton of people pushing their way through this auditorium. Let’s let my mother have that moment first and then I won’t have to interact with her as long. After about 10 minutes (with plenty of people still swarming about), my sister texted me, so we came out to the portico.

People were taking pictures of her (she never poses for pictures), so I jumped in and started taking pictures, too. That was the first time my mother saw me – as I was taking pictures of my sister. I put down my camera, said hi, introduced my friend, and then walked away. My friend immediately jumped in with the small talk to do her “buffer duty.” My mother kept looking at me and trying to talk to me, but there was enough of a crowd for me to avoid her for the most part. We only said a few sentences, with me remembering to say, “It was nice of you to come for sis.”

Sis’s best friend was leaving with her family to eat at a local Ryan’s (a buffet-style restaurant), and my sister asked all of us to join her there. My friend kept reminding me that I did not have to go, but I wanted to be a part of my sister’s celebration. When we got there, we saw that our party of eight was to be split into two tables of four with a big opening between the two tables. I headed for the bathroom while my friend moved people around so my mother and I were at different tables. (My friend was awesome!)

I managed to avoid my mother/abuser until it was time to leave. She walked up to me and asked me if she could hug me. I didn’t know what to do, so I let her with no warmth on my part, and I was definitely as stiff as a board. Then, she asked if she could get a picture of the three of us (her, sis, and me). I posed for it. My stomach was really churning after the hug, and I even scoped out a plant to catch my vomit if I couldn’t hold it down, but I did manage to hold it in.

Then, I saw my mother and her friend drive away, heading for her home that was several hours away by car, and I could breathe again.

To be continued…

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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