Friday, June 11, 2010

I was like her

Friday, June 11, 2010

Her resolve fueled by adolescent stubbornness and listless indolence, my sister was adamant in her refusal to attend the clan reunion that relatives from our grandmother’s side organized. The reasons that we thought would convince her to go were countered with excuses of her own: just thinking of the long commute already makes her limp; she doesn’t want to miss the television shows she’s following; she doesn’t know anybody there, anyway. And then I realized that I was like her when I was her age. I would have refused to go, too. I would have come up with irrefutable reasons for not going. But while we were able to compel her to go in the end, I—at her age--would have remained unyielding and unflappable.

In big social gatherings like clan reunions smiles are worn like armor. True selves remain hidden, for fear of giving offense. Your whole existence is encapsulated in a one-line introduction that is oftentimes off the mark. You try to correct whatever mistaken notion they have of you, but thought it best to just smile and let it be. Small talk is the norm, and interest for something or somebody you don’t really care about has to be feigned. Ostentation and exaggeration abound almost as food, in such gatherings, does. Through it all, you can’t but keep that smile on your face and eat heartily.

Despite these things that make such parties a bore and not worth attending, family gatherings—as I’ve only now realized—are invaluable. Surrounded with countless relatives whom I’ve only heard stories about but haven’t seen before, I felt that I belong with them. We probably won’t see each other in the next ten years or until the next reunion; knowing that we will always be tied by blood is enough.

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