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[personal profile] besubversive
Back in Portland. We were in Delaware for a week, unexpectedly. Drew's cousin Narrinchai passed away from cancer at the age of 41 and Drew's younger brother Jasun, who has basically had his head reattached to his spine three times in the last two years, lost the ability to speak recently after some major gains in mobility. So it was time to go back. I was home from work and sick with tonsillitis when Drew bought his ticket. I cried and cried because I wanted so badly to go with him. Drew encouraged me to email both of my bosses and both of them encouraged me to accompany Drew, despite any work conflicts. The cheapest ticket meant flying into Baltimore instead of Philly, and it also meant going for a week instead of a long weekend. In retrospect, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

So, this is the second time I've traveled with tonsillitis, and I don't recommend it. I also earned myself a trip to the emergency room the morning after our arrival in Delaware. Penicillin had finally taken the swelling and pain out of my tonsils (it was mainly the left one) overnight, but I found the rest of my throat so swollen upon waking that I was having difficulty breathing. A liquid steroid, which tasted of burnt popcorn and latex, relieved me of that issue.

We spent most of our time with Drew's family, which meant a mixed bag of emotions for both of us. Drew's parents are so co-dependent and dysfunctional. The house is a wreck and reeks of cigarette smoke. We wanted to be with Jasun as much as possible, but it meant sleeping in a loud, hot house, on ancient, lumpy pillows, and coping with Mr. Spencer's antisocial behaviors and Mama Ro's demands. According to my brothers-in-law, though, both of them are more pleasant to be around when we're in town. And they WERE happy to see us, and showed us in their own ways.

A couple of nights, we spent at my mom's house. It was quiet and we had a self-inflating queen size air mattress, which was honestly perfectly comfortable.

Things we did:

- Attended Chai's funeral, which was a study in family politics. It's too complicated to get into, but the Spencers are black sheep, essentially. Drew and his brothers were, at times, extremely close to Chai though, and to a lesser extent his younger brother, Wit. I was expecting to see some tears from Drew and I think he wanted that release badly, but there were too many things going on to allow him the kind of vulnerability it would have taken. Honestly, I can only remember seeing Drew cry twice in the entire 17 years we've known each other. Drew has probably seen me cry AT LEAST 500 times, and that's a very low estimate. But it was a deeply moving service, because Chai was an incredible, positive, curious, loving person. The strangest part of the whole day was how several speakers seemed to be fighting over Chai's religion and the fate of his soul. He was Buddhist for most of his life and then married his wife in his late 30's and started attending her Christian church. A few years later, he officially converted, but some people who stood up claimed that he was still Buddhist, or that he took the best parts of many religions and followed his own faith. The pastor was not having it. The whole thing made me very uncomfortable.

- Went to a cute brewpub dinner with my mom and stepfather.

- Played video games with my brother and his girlfriend, and then went for a late night back roads drive that ended at a Taco Bell at 1:00 AM.

- Spent a lot of time with the Spencer brothers, watching music videos and running errands and talking, which was very cathartic for all, really.

- Had a crab boil with Drew's family. My husband made these mussels that we were all nuts about. I drank a bunch of Belgian beer and had a nice time, even though I felt really dissociated that day, like I was watching myself participate in things. My mom brought a bag of pumpkin spice drizzle popcorn to share and did not seem to pick up on how funny that was to everyone. A white lady being really enthusiastic about pumpkin spice in a non-ironic way: PRICELESS.

- Went out for sushi at our old favorite haunt.

- Had a really awkward dinner with my dad and stepmother, with my brother and Katie also in attendance. Things are not good between my dad and I, and they haven't been since the presidential election. Or more specifically, since an awful conversation that happened between us in December. It was supposed to follow up and address an email I sent several weeks prior, in which I listed my reasons for feeling betrayed by his Trump vote. It was written gently and made many concessions, but my dad just tapped into the white, middle class, angry conservative rhetoric that he seems to be gobbling up these days. There was no actual discussion. He just shouted a lot about millennials and snowflakes and said that white people aren't good enough for me anymore. Later he texted to say he had let his anger get the better of him, but we still haven't resolved anything, and he still shares tons of nasty right-wing memes and articles on his Facebook, which I unfollowed months ago to save my sanity. He sees no conflict between his actual love for me and Drew and his vote for someone who hates us and would deny us basic human rights. I'm not sure what to do about it. Have I talked about this before? It breaks my heart.

- Drove to Rehoboth Beach with Jasun, took lots of beach babe selfies, dipped my toes in the Atlantic, had ice cream, got sunburnt ankles.

Also, Jasun started talking again while we were in town. It happened after we all smoked a bunch of weed together. Previously, Jasun had been having chronic headaches and when he tried to vocalize, they would intensify and he would feel a tingling in his head and something like spiderwebs on his face. Focusing on forming words would leave him exhausted, shaky, and in pain. He had a couple of diagnoses, which conflicted with one another. But weed seemed to reset his brain enough to start talking, and it lasted even after he sobered up, so I'll never need further evidence that marijuana is medicine.

I have more things to say about our trip, but I'll save them for later.
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