After listening to his sister complain for a while on the phone, he told her, “Gramma’s really dumb. You know that.””Gramma’s a fucking retard,” chimed in his wife, who was sitting next to him on the train. He ignored her and continued to sooth his sister.”I’ll try calling pa. Maybe they’re going to pay them a visit. I’ll yell at them, don’t worry.”A short silence.”You let them do that to you. She can’t do that. Clean out the house and don’t answer your cell…huh? She knows your home phone too? Gramma’s the dumbest person to walk on earth… They’re trying to threaten us into doing something. They want us to take care of this. Don’t let them do that to you. Keep avoiding their calls. Does your home phone have caller ID? Well then, when you answer the phone and she says ‘Allly!’ then just hang up. Just hang up right away. They can’t keep calling forever.”
After listening to his sister a bit more, he began to lose his temper, the tone of his voice climbing up to the higher rungs of exasperation, filling the quiet train car. “Refuse to deal with it. No one can touch you unless you let them. Christy left six messages and Cathy left two. I don’t listen to any of them, never do, but there was a total of eight. They’re only making shit worse.” His wife started to say something but he hurriedly said, “shhhhhh-.””Don’t shish me you asshole,” his wife spat out.He ignored her, trying to focus on what his sister was saying.
“You’re such an asshole. Fuck you,” his wife mumbled.”Don’t let them do that. I’ll yell at them. I’ll take care of Gramma,” he advised his sister one last time before hanging up the phone.
“I can’t hear when you’re talking in my ear and I’m trying to listen to what my sister is saying in the other ear,” he complained to his wife. “What did you want me to say?”
“You would never say it anyway,” his wife said.
“Say what?””You didn’t say anything about the pregnancy. She fucking drinks.”
“The doctor said that one glass of wine was okay. She knows what’s bad for her.”
“Maybe she doesn’t. This is her first time. Just call her.”
“It’s like telling her not to go out and stand in traffic. I’m not going to tell her that.”
“What’s wrong with just advising her as an older brother?”
“If you’re so concerned, why don’t you call her yourself,” he said flatly. “I worry about my own backyard. Ally’s got a husband to take care of her own shit, but she’s letting gramma and grammapop get to her.“Your gramma loves music and drama, just like you,” she argued. “I have a problem with your family. Too much drama.”
“Look, my grandparents are stupid and falling in their own shit but I can’t make them smarter.”
“Maybe they need to be reminded how fucked up they are. Go tell them how fucked up they are and maybe they’ll realize… hey, you’re not listening to me.”
“It’s none of my business,” he said.
“Then why do you avoid all the calls?” she accused. “You didn’t pick up the phone because you’re scared.”
“I’m not scared. Why the hell would I be scared? You think I’m scared because I’ll give in?”
“I don’t feel like you’re listening,” the wife said.