My schedule at the barbecue joint allows me little or no time to see my friends from back in the days, so when I do get to see them it's a very special occasion to me. You see, on my days off — Monday and Tuesday — I'm usually so burnt out from the job that I just want to vegetate at home and do fuck all; I catch up on my reading, watch DVDs or several days worth of TV shows, wander about the city in a mentally-depleted daze, procrastinate at cleaning my apartment, cook some soup or stew to last for a few days, or maybe "enjoy" my umpteenth viewing of EIGHTEEN AND NASTY: VOLUME 10.
If given the choice, I'd spend my time interacting with my friends (who are really family), but they all have regular work schedules, and the number of them that have not moved upstate or across the ocean is painfully small. My friends never fail to invite me to get-togethers, but I can't make it unless I take time off from work, and the pool of replacements is miniscule, so over the past two years I have become a remote presence in the family and my friends have become fond memories whom I occasionally communicate by phone.
This past weekend, my pal Lexi told me she was organizing a get-together of as many available family members as possible on one of my nights off, and I was excited as could be. As my time at the barbecue joint winds down I am attempting to acclimate myself into the waking world once again, and if I can interact with real humans again on my days off I will do so with gusto. I even went to the movies with Lexi on Monday, the first time I'd been to a theater in nearly two months, and the realization that I, of all people, was not regularly attending films hit me like a Chuck Norris roundhouse to the jaw.
So when I saw my family on Tuesday night I was overwhelmed by the feeling of sheer happiness and belonging that I had all but forgotten, my friends embracing me back into their warmth as though I had never become a hermit. There I was, surrounded by friendly faces and all-around good vibes, and I was rocked to my soul as I remembered a part of my life that had lain dormant for too long; my lack of a mate is one thing, but the loneliness of being without my family was slowly killing me, and I had become so remote that I didn't even realise it.
So thank you, my dear, dear family. From now on I am BACK, motherfuckers, and as I get my shit together it's good to know you never forgot me, or let me forget that sometimes there is nothing better than the family that you choose.