Dear Ed,

Today, you would have turned 38. Happy birthday. Or, perhaps I should be wishing you a happy un-birthday since you aren’t alive anymore to celebrate. Or, perhaps I should not even talk about celebrating since our parents never really celebrated your birthday much because they never appreciated you in the way good parents should.

Sorry, my tone isn’t very positive or happy or even wistful in the least. It’s mainly because our parents ignored my request for them to not be here in New York on your birthday, when Chris and I usually do something fun and delicious to honor your birthday, and it’s one of the last days I ever want to be with the two of them. It’s been just as miserable of a visit as you can imagine. I’ll be honest and say it’s not as bad as the visit when you came in July 2011 for our cousin’s wedding, but it’s a close second. Everything is complaining and bickering and moaning, and everything is my fault or some stupid, catty, passive-aggressive remark. Dad says he wants to do all these things before the trip starts, and when the trip starts, he happens to “forget” or says he didn’t write an address down or didn’t do any research beforehand… all which could easily be remedied by using the computer and looking something up — so laziness in general. He complains that imaginary places are out of business that he doesn’t even know of, and then complains he doesn’t have enough time (he obviously had plenty of time; he would be here for a week by the time he leaves).

Our mom is snooping in all the drawers and trying to rearrange things. She’s insisting that she bought certain things while I bought certain things, and it’s so senseless that it’s not even funny. And when I’m preparing food, like chopping onions or slicing peaches, she stands so close to me with her 4’8″ body that if I moved just a bit, I could easily cut her or elbow her in her face, and she doesn’t understand why I keep getting frustrated and tell her to move all the time. She told me that I’m being mean to her. She also keeps putting the toilet seat up because she insists that’s the way a proper house works. Two days ago, she accused me of making all her avocados brown by putting them in the fridge and picked a fight about it (that’s the type of thing my mom loves to argue about, but she insists she never argues ever and that someone else always starts the fight). She already bought them for cheap at three for $1 in Chinatown because they were already mushy and far past their prime. Now, it’s my fault for putting them in the fridge and getting them brown. Because there’s no way they could have been brown when they were mushy before the fridge, right?

These are just a part of the reasons that I’m actually happy you’re no longer with us. You never have to have another senseless, stupid argument about something that doesn’t matter even a tad ever, ever again. You never have to get blamed for something stupid that they did that you obviously never did. You never have to get verbally abused again. You never have to be told you’re selfish or ungrateful or stupid or a moron or useless ever again. You never have to be criticized ever again. You never have to be cold in your own bedroom. You never have to have people constantly barging into your bedroom and turning on the overhead light while you are trying to sleep. You never have to have pointless orders barked at you when you are trying to relax. You never have to be told to do something right away, or else get screamed at. You never have to be relegated to the basement bathroom. You never have to get blamed when there is pee on the rim of the toilet. You never have to drink milk or juice and then leave your mug in the sink, then have her come home and get angry and slam your mug down and break the handle because she’s mad you didn’t put water in the mug to clean it out first. Remember that strawberry fields mug and how cute it was? It was so tragic when the handle completely broke off in her fit of rage.

There were too many terrible things you endured with them. Is it bad that I’m happy you don’t have to deal with them any longer? I miss you and love you. I just wish you had better circumstances. I wish you had better people in your life who truly loved you and encouraged you to be what you wanted to be. Is that really so much to ask?

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