“Why does Uncle Calvin do that ?” I asked. “Why does he have to be so grumpy all the time?”
“It’s beyond knowing,” replied Aunt Dru, with a shake of her head. “He’s a hard man to understand. A real enigma, that one. Our mama–your grandma–always showed him special treatment, like he was her favorite. But he never acted like he was anyone’s favorite. Never enjoyed being the favorite, I mean. Always ducked out early. Never wanted to be in the center of anything. Preferred being by himself. When he had to be with the family–no choice to it–he’d just drift about on the edge, waiting for an opportunity to leave. It was like the company of others enjoying themselves was just too hard to bear, and he couldn’t stand the pressure of it.”
“That doesn’t give him the right to be mean. Looks like he’d have some sympathy for someone else if he knows how it feels to be the awkward one.”
“Oh, it comes with practice, I guess. He’s practiced his way for so long, it just comes natural. Even if he has a thought for someone else, it comes too late. And he doesn’t know how to put himself aside. He’s nursed his own hurts so well and for so long, they’ve grown big enough to boss him around.”
“What kind of hurts?” I asked.
“The usual kind. Just the ordinary kind everybody gets. Calvin just didn’t seem to know how to walk on through them. He stopped and picked up every one of them hurts and carried them with him. Still carrying them. Guess he thinks nobody else has anything to carry. Makes him resent happiness when he sees it. Like it’s something wrong, somehow. Like if you offer him some joy or have some joy of your own, you’re just poking fun at him. Laughing at his load of hurt.” Aunt Dru sighed. “It shouldn’t have turned out that way. He was Mama’s favorite.”
This is my entry in the Trifecta Writing Challenge using the 3rd definition of enigma–a mysterious or inscrutable person. www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/
Cheese Doodles and Other Misunderstandings-Made with real cheese that gives a melt-in-your-mouth flavor you can’t resist.