I had originally planned to spend the 4th of July weekend as a tourist in my own town, or more accurately as a vacationer in my own home. The weeks leading up to my 3 1/2 day weekend I pictured a quiet and memorable holiday complete with bluegrass music and evening bonfires. My grocery list read “marshmallows, hot dogs, alcohol…” And I told myself that I would wake up and take my coffee to the porch, reading the news slowly and enjoying the ever warming day.
Day two of my holiday and I feel just as I normally do on any other given day off. I still haven’t grocery shopped, and I don’t bother to take my coffee to the porch but instead settle into my recliner next to an open window. I have debated bailing on tonight’s family dinner but know that it would just result in me laying on the couch watching the same tv show I always binge watch.
Last night’s family gathering at my aunt and uncle’s house two hours south of me did not disappoint. While my father made a few remarks about me needing to have children my mother brought up my ex husband and wouldn’t take my hints from across the table to let it drop. My sister with the children was absent from the occasion. Her family was staying at a Christian family camp while my other sister had an engagement session to photograph and couldn’t even take a moment in her day to text me back. Their missing energy gave my parents the time to focus on me, but this never yields positive results. “Thank God I’m not an only child” I thought this morning as I sipped my coffee and wallowed in my parents disapproval.
I am sure they don’t mean any harm. They only mean to pressure me enough that I will decide to have children. “Do they think their stubborn comments such as ‘I’m praying for you to get pregnant so you better watch out!’ make me want to rush home and jump into bed with you?” I asked my husband on the way home from my aunt and uncle’s house. “Seriously, do they think bringing up their dissapointment makes me want to produce children?” My husband shook his head and kept his eyes on the road. When we stopped for gas I demanded that he call his doctor first thing after the holiday to schedule a vascectomy. “You know that’s not going to make a difference to your parents.” And deep down I knew he was right. But wouldn’t the argument hold less weight?
As for my mother’s remarks regarding my ex husband I have no explanation. Again, I am sure she doesn’t mean to make me upset, just stirring the pot is all. Typically after she’s had a couple of drinks the comments about my first wedding dress will be made, but since she was sober yesterday she was less severe. To this my husband also brushes off saying he is not bothered by her remarks personally although, he says it upsets him that I am upset. I chalk it up to disappointment as I sat rocking in my recliner, looking out the window to notice how high the sun had already become.
Through the open window next to me I listen to crows cawing as they fly over a dead deer near the end of our driveway. I turn on some music to drown it out. Yesterday morning my husband and heard the thud. We got out of bed and as I made coffee my husband went to check on the tourists that had hit the deer. Instead of sitting on my porch and doing a crossword puzzle I peered through the kitchen window, looking past the rows of pine trees at the Indian family that paced up and down the road waiting for a cop and a tow truck to arrive. As my husband and I passed the dead deer on our way to my aunt and uncles I looked the other way.
But today there was something behind the crows and the music. Something that I couldn’t drown out. I debated not texting my dad but the sound just wouldn’t go away. “It sounds like an animal crying, but I’m sure it’s not. Maybe it’s a raccoon?” My dad texted back that it was most likely a fawn left behind, calling for its mother and that I should go look for it. I hastily threw off my pajamas and put jeans and a tshirt on. I slipped on my boots and grabbed my coffee. It felt good to be outside, and I watched a hummingbird fly overhead, stepped over a small, dead, bloated mouse in the driveway, and tried to forget about the carcass down the road. The bleeting stopped, and all I could hear were the droves of tourists driving past. I thought about all of the litter I planned to pick up along the highway and made note of the weeds in my garden. But I couldn’t find the fawn. My eyes filled with tears as I thought of the abandoned baby, and I went back inside to hide. This wasn’t the vacation weekend I had planned on, the heartbreak, the disappointment, the feelings of being a failure, it all made me want to go back to bed. The forest surrounding me wasn’t making me feel at peace, and as I heard a tire pop on a passing tourist’s boat trailer all I could wish for was the holiday to end.