living arrangements

My loving family comes back today, so I guess my unplanned vacation is over. It’s been strange being alone this last week, especially for someone who’s never lived alone. I never moved away to go to college. Never moved out to get my own place. Never moved in with a boyfriend or whatever. Never left for more time than to take a vacation or go away for business.

This house is mine, or mostly mine anyway. I did move away from my parents’ house when the shit hit the fan two years ago. And my mother and my brother came with me. Arianna eventually saw that if she moved in with us she could live without paying rent, so she came later. But it isn’t her house–it’s mine. The lease is in my name, though Arianna contributes to the rent (now) and my mother pays for some of the utilities. And I’m never alone.

I almost missed them, these people who are my family. Until last night, when a 5-minute innocent conversation with Arianna ended in a yelling match, I had convinced myself that I _did_ miss them. But I have to confess that I liked being alone. I liked the fact that my stress level was so reduced. I liked not having to hear my mother whine and Arianna cut into everything and everyone for an entire week. It was blissful. It was too brief.

Arianna moved out the year she turned 20. She and a friend rented a house from her friend’s aunt and they just moved out. It was at a time when Arianna was particularly difficult to live with. When she was partying and self-destructing and she didn’t want us around to tell her that she was doing stupid things. She was 20, she had a job and a car, why should she stay home?

She stayed away for less than a year. That’s not to say that she wasn’t over at the house all the time. And my mother even went to her house frequently to make sure that she was okay-frequently. In that time she managed to destroy her credit, by putting everything on credit cards and then forgetting to pay her bills. She got herself put on academic probation at the university, completely destroying her GPA forever. She ruined friendships, obliterated boyfriends and burnt herself out on the club scene.

And then she moved back, claiming that her roommate was getting married and she didn’t want to find another one. Reality was that she had overextended herself so badly she could no longer afford to pay rent. The Arianna that came back was more subdued than the one that left, but she was so bitter at having to return that it hardly mattered. It never occurred to any of us not to let her come back home.

I know, with that deep-seated “I Know My Family” conviction, that Arianna is moving out as soon as she finishes school. That’s one year away. She has stated time and again that she will not be responsible for my mother, no matter how pathetic my mother’s situation may be. As far as Arianna is concerned, my mother should have planned better for a just in case. And when she has enough money to live on her own she’s out of here.

I have told my mother that our current arrangement is only lasting until my brother is grown up. until he can take care of himself I had made it my duty in life to make sure that he’s taken care of. After that, my mother and I will have to work something out. I am not going to be responsible for her for the rest of my life. I think that I have done enough by putting my life on hold, first because my father was ill, then because my mother couldn’t take care of herself, now because I don’t trust her to take care of Juan. After that, I’ll consider my duty to have been done.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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