My husband’s parents are here.
They’re the kind of parents who bounce around from kid to kid, now that we’re adults, looking for something. The kind of parents who say they love being with their kids, yet when they’re here, only talk to us. Rarely to each other. And with each impending visit, they stay slightly longer. Months.
As if by being here they can avoid the ponderous silence at home. They tend to hover close. Love loading the dishwasher. Eager to vacuum. Make a different bread every day: pumpernickel raisin or whole wheat/ rye with sunflower seeds. Sounds great, I know. But my anxiety increases, as does pressure to constantly entertain them. His father, Elvin, says, “Honey, did you know your tile is cracked on this top step?” “Yes, Dad,” which I call him because mine is dead. “That happened the last time you were here.”
“You ought to get that fixed,” he says. Then adds, “There’s always something to do with a house, isn’t there? There’s no end.” I want to say, how the hell do you know? You’re never home?
Instead I call Rodney, make a perm appointment for Mom, her hair so short that he uses pink and blue rods. Her hair already looks pubic. Beverly surveys the broken step. She says, “Next time we go to Costco, we’ll get some super glue. I’ll fix it.”
I pop a Xanax, write a postcard, address it to myself: HELP!
Never send it.