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you are at a party with a boy you don’t love. he puts his hands on your hips even though you don’t love him but he doesn’t know that. you don’t know what love is supposed to look like. your parents didn’t love each other. none of their siblings loved anyone else, not the right way, anyway. your mom has a lot of siblings. eight siblings and five are girls and all of them are named mary. isn’t that funny? that’s always the fun fact you share when someone asks you to share a fun fact. five marys in one family! they all go by their middle names except the first mary. she was the first mary so she just gets to be mary.

your grandparents were very catholic. they had nine kids on one teacher’s salary.

one time your oldest uncle when he was little or a teenager i guess had a snake. a giant snake he was always bringing animals home. and one day the snake got loose and it slithered up the gutter and surprised your grandfather who was cleaning the roof. it made the papers when they found the snake. your mother found him in the attic all wrapped up in a carpet. it made the local paper. “snug as a bug in a rug” that was the headline. eventually the snake got away again and they never found him. you like to think that the snake is still out there somewhere eating squirrels and stray cats in the town that has become middle class since your mother moved away. one time the two of you drove past the house she grew up in and she pointed out how the brick steps your grandfather built were still there. she told you that they tore down every other bit of the house but they left those stairs because they were so well built. she was very proud of your grandfather’s stairs. your grandfather died right after you were born so you’ve always called him grandpa-in-heaven. there’s a picture of him holding you. you’re looking at the camera but he’s looking at you. your grandpa was a complicated man. he had four sons and sometimes he hit them. your mother says it’s very important to be honest at funerals because people are complicated and it doesn’t do them any good to only talk about their good parts. you were probably at your grandfather’s funeral but you don’t remember any of it. you wonder what they said.

your uncle has a new snake now. its name is new snake because he never got around to naming it. your uncle doesn’t leave his house much. he was in a motorcycle accident a while back and then there was something with drugs and now he just likes to talk on the phone. you talked on the phone with him a few months ago. he said something about your mother how she won a moped once when you were very young but your father made her get rid of it. he got uncomfortable after that and he hung up. your uncle likes to talk on the phone and you’re the only person who has ever made him hang up first. you didn’t know that about the moped. when your mother was your age she biked all around ireland all on her own.

your uncle was in love once. he was in love with a woman named terry. you’ve been to his house once or twice in the past few years and he always makes pierogies. all the other white people in your family only make pierogies on christmas but he makes them whenever he wants. he has a dog now named named angel but before that he had a dog named yorma deeohgee. say it out loud. isn’t that funny? yorma is buried in the backyard under a stone tombstone your uncle had custom made even though he doesn’t have very much money. he really loved yorma more than angel but yorma had heartworm and he was a bait dog so they didn’t bother treating it and by the time your uncle got him it was eating him inside out. your uncle has a whiteboard on his wall and on it it says TO DO: TELL TERRY YOU LOVE HER. he wrote that you don’t know how many years ago. terry was his girlfriend but she’s dead now but you don’t know when or why. she’s dead so it’s easy to think that your uncle really loved her but people are complicated. you don’t know what they’re going to say at your uncle’s funeral.

maybe you weren’t at your grandpa’s funeral. maybe they don’t bring babies to funerals. you can’t remember.

you are at a party with a boy you don’t love but he loves you as far as he knows. you went to thanksgiving at his house and his mother didn’t season any of the food but his family played games after dinner and went on a walk with the dog in the morning and every day someone else would bake a fresh loaf of bread to eat with dinner. he puts his hands on your hips and you let him. fuck it, why not? can you tell me why not?