Would it be too great a thing to call myself Isaiah?
Today is Thanksgiving, and I am loathe for them to return to this place. I’d such high hopes for them–my children. I gave them everything.
Their mother was a prostitute. No one ever guesses that. Our Christmas card is always so lovely. We always seemed to refined–to outsiders, that is. Oh that you could see beyond the matte finish of that perfectly posed card, then you’d know the truth.
Derek and his wife will arrive first. His mother will kiss his cheek and fawn over his accomplishments. Derek is a Very Important Man, after all. A business man. A politician. He’ll smile condescendingly as his mother crows over the latest bill he sponsored. As I take his coat and his scarf, I’ll quietly ask about the number of people evicted for his most recent Brilliant Plan. He’ll brush me off politely and make a show of helping Cook with the turkey.
Bianca will arrive next, alone. Whichever husband she is on now couldn’t be bothered to come with her. I will try not to weep when I see her. She’ll have an expensive bag and some wine. She never looks me in the eye anymore. No. Her eyes will dart this way and that as she bemoans the trials of playing her latest role and flips through pictures on her phone of exotic set locations. Her mother will be star struck, and awed that such a thing could come from her own loins. I will be heartbroken that such a thing came from mine. I don’t see the façade Bianca projects, I see past it to something else. I see her mother on the day I found her. I see open sores and haunted eyes. Instead of high fashion, I see rags. Instead of jewelry, I see chains. On some level, Bianca must sense this. She won’t stay long. Soon after the picture for the Christmas card is taken, she’ll find some excuse to leave.
Delores, at least, was partially honest this year. She called her mother yesterday to decline the invitation. I heard her voice prating through my wife’s phone”I am rejecting an outdated social construct the affirms triumphalist and patriarchal notions of the founding of this nation and completely ignores the suffering of indigenous peoples.” I told her mother to ask if needed a ride up to the pipeline protest. Delores declined. Translation: “I am weary of pretending to like you people, would like to spend the long weekend working on my thesis, and indigenous people provide as useful a narrative as any.” She can have whatever narrative she wants, I really don’t care, but will she ever really work for justice? I doubt it. I could respect her a little if she actually did something about the rights of the oppressed. But No. She’ll finish her thesis, become a professor at some college, and spend the rest of her life inspiring ineffectual outrage in yet another generation.
The photographer got here an hour ago and is setting up in the parlor. My wife dabs her eyes as she waits for Derek to arrive, mourning the fact that our Christmas card will be less than perfect this year. She has no idea that this is only the beginning.
I love my children too much to let them remain as they are.