19 - "After a good dinner one can forgive anybody."

It starts out all right. Everything is bright, friendly and cheery. Nothing is dark or somber. Relatives you've never seen before come over, and being of Asian heritage, it means that there are a lot of relatives to bow and scrape to. Raucous laughter bangs a cacophony over and over my head as the ladies sneak peeks at the latest handbags of those who married rich while the others sniff disdainfully of whatever decorations are put up in the house. The men size each other up in terms of money and success in life; then they get together to talk about whatever news is blaring on the TV. Normal. Fake.

Of course, I do not despise the essence of it; Christ Jesus' birthday is supposed to be celebrated, after all. But the tawdry fakery, the grey slushy snow, and the beady eyes of money-sucking businessmen makes me want to crawl in a hole. Dinner at home is even more vulgar. The awkward silence that fills among cousins, the snide insults that are passed to each other over the table -- do they think I will not notice? 

They pick apart their children's life as if they were taxidermists, revealing everything to bare. They pick apart mine especially, mainly because I am with them but I am not one of them. My mother tries to galvanize my decreasing faith in what is known as family. They'll be gone soon. She lays a quick kiss to my cheek before I place my armor, take up my sword, and plaster a smile to meet family.

I hope it will be different this year. Mom's side of the family isn't coming, so the snide insults will not be present. Mom's mother passed away, so that means no spiteful glares are directed toward anyone. But my Father is coming, which means everything will still be awkward.  But I've been told that, "After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations." I wish this to be true.

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