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Entry 17 The Lady in Duluth

"Oisin," said Aunt Aliza who was making Manhattan style pollock chowder for dinner tonight. "Your mother left a message for you and Stasch on the house phone."

I winced. "I think you have to email her."

Does Aunt Aliza know what an absolute chore this is? I think part of her does, but one would think mothers have a union, not that Aunt Aliza is really a mother. She's my stepmother though Stasch calls her mom because he came here to Greenup to live with Dad and Aunt Aliza when he was three.

Anyway, it's not my mom I can't stand. It's my older sister, Lyuba. Even now I can't think of her except to think unpleasant thoughts. It's that bad. Yes, it's that bad. She was bossy, mean, and liked to lord it over me. I don't know how I survived living with her. I was so glad to escape and all this was three years ago. Sometimes sibling relations can really suck.

Anyway, mom makes a pretense of keeping in touch. OK, I'll ask it since you're probably asking it: What kind of a woman kicks out a three year old son? Well, mom was very sick with the first pregnancy by her new husband. Yes, both my parents screwed around from when I was a bit older than Stasch until they got divorced when I was in fifth grade. There, now you know.

Well mom's first pregnancy by her second husband was difficult. If she had just gone to work and done business as usual she would have had a miscarriage and might have died, so they had her on bedrest which meant Lyuba ran the house. Well, she didn't run the house when I had any say in the matter which wasn't that often, but I didn't take things lying down.

Meanwhile Stasch was a "spirited child." Actually high maintenance was more like it and getting almost no maintenance he drove every body crazy. Somehow through all this he learned to use the toilet, dress himself, and talk though the words tumbled over each other in a kind of garble. The rest of the time except for learning to tie a bow, Stasch bounced off the walls, furniture, us, anything that was handy. Stasch was up half the night if any one was up and sometimes I was up because I like to read at night or draw or watch the R rated videos that Uncle Gavriel, my stepdad rented. Stasch didn't care about the videos. He just liked being up.

Anyway, mom needed rest so she sent Stasch to be with dad. With a newborn and Stasch she just didn't have enough eyeballs, arms, hands, and patience. I can't really be that pissed at mom for sending Stasch away because I knew she'd been sick. I was mad at her for letting herself get pregnant and not getting an abortion. Didn't she have enough kids with five of us all ready? You know the answer. People who need abortions don't get them.

Mom sent Stasch to Greenup and I said it wasn't fair that he go without a sibling so I got to "go with him." I went and I stayed. Dad and Aunt Aliza beat mom and Lyuba. Uncle Gavriel was not really a problem. Now of course mom wants a relationship so that means I had to write her an email.

What was I going to tell her? I decided to tell her about my econ book and leave out the fact that the econ teacher was a stinking time server. I told her about the French honor society and that I was going to teach Stasch to read silently and that I fixed his bike. I hoped she'd think the long letter was nice and not write back for a while. I really didn't want her to ask me to visit when the school year just started. I'd have to think of a way to say "no." That isn't always easy to do.

"I don't like fish soup?" Stasch wailed from the kitchen.

"You can have leftover turkey. I saved some for you," answered Aunt Aliza. "I know you don't like most of what I cook, but there are three people here who do. You can't dictate what we have for dinner, Stasch."

One thing about Aunt Aliza, it is very hard for her to get upset. She did not even get upset when Stasch bounced off the walls the first two weeks he was here. She yelled at dad instead of at Stasch. She wanted Stasch to see a doctor and take pills. Dad wasn't sure that was a good idea. Aunt Aliza won the fight, and Stasch' medication worked.

We'd be living happily ever after if not for my ugly older sister and the lady in Duluth.

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