My mother had a terrible drinking problem while I was growing up, causing a fair amount of misery for me. I complained to my friends, as teenagers will, and received a satisfactory amount of sympathy.
One night my mother hit the bottle too hard while a friend was spending the night. The two of us huddled in my bedroom, furniture against the door, music blaring to block the screams. My friend turned to me, wide eyed, and announced, “Your mom really is crazy!”
Hadn’t I been saying that for years?
Human beings have a tendency to exaggerate. We use big words to emphasis our feelings, to the point where those words lose their meaning. “I want to die” can be said jokingly after a long day. “You’re crazy” is said in response to something silly. And the sheer fact that words lose their meanings mean we keep going to stronger words to express the same thing the regular words used to mean. Pretty soon you run out of words.
So when I say my Aunt Suzy is crazy, I don’t expect anyone to understand the depth of the word. There’s no point telling stories, as they’re easily brushed off as exaggerated, one-sided, overblown. There’s really no way to describe the gut-wrenching feeling I would get in my stomach every time I was around this woman, the way her laugh made me flinch, the way I was frightened to get on her bad side.
And so maybe it’s true that I’m just a runner, the kind of person who can’t face their problems. I know I am. It’ll take a lot to break me of that. But I don’t think I ever could have stayed, not with her there.
Through the magic of Craigslist and SophieLuck, I was able to locate, view, and move into an apartment in less than a week after my decision to move out from my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I had my own bedroom in a third story apartment with a beautiful view of Punchbowl Crater. I couldn’t have been happier.
Suzy went back to drinking and drugs and managed to get Auntie T and Uncle evicted from their house. They moved to a one bedroom place with no couch to crash on. Suzy lives at the Veteran’s home now. We all dodge her phone calls.