Missing the ones who hurt you

Spoiler warning: The following post briefly discusses episode 6 of the second season of The Bear

Thanks to the extra hours and holidays I spent at work, I got to be at home for almost an entire week and I used the opportunity to relax and get some long-awaited rest. The timing couldn’t have been better as the second season of The Bear just came out and I got to binge it without reservations. I’m not exactly a TV person – movies are much more pleasing to my palate – but this show is a five course meal. This post isn’t about The Bear, exactly, but it also kind of is.

There’s so much to talk about, but “Fishes,” the sixth episode, is currently occupying a good two thirds of my cerebral bandwidth. It’s an hour long, packed with stellar cameos and, like other folks around the internet have enthusiastically pointed out, very reminiscent of John Cassavetes’ work, which can only be taken as the highest of compliments. A dinner, a flashback, a look into the Berzatto family and all their broken pieces.

Nerve-wracking and outright exhausting, that excellent episode sunk me into the pool of introspection and made me reflect on my own family dynamic and how similar it is to the dysfunctional mess depicted on screen. All the yelling, the volatility and pent-up rage is something I am far too accustomed to and it made me sad just how easily I could see myself sat at that table.

It got me thinking. About my aunt, who was beyond unstable but also someone who truly understood me. About my dad, who was quiet and reserved and who broke my heart before anyone else had the chance to. The former taken away by disease and the latter taken away by reasons beyond my understanding or simply by his desire to no longer have me in his life. How cruel is it that we’re so alike, the three of us? That the only people I could wholeheartedly relate to are no longer part of the world I inhabit?

Memories of being a child flood me. I remember the arguments between my aunt and her siblings, I remember her outbursts and those brown eyes full of sadness and chaos. I remember trying to keep everybody calm all the time, walking on eggshells, being the peacekeeper.

Her death was very sudden. The stretch of time between her getting to the hospital and the machines that kept her body alive being turned off not very long. When she was in that bed, I only visited her once. I didn’t cry at her funeral. I went to her grave twice, maybe three times in the past 9 years. When I’m alone, thinking about her makes me cry so hard I feel like my chest is going to cave in.

Memories of my dad, foggier and foggier by the day. I barely knew him, can’t even tell the world what his favorite color was. Now that I’m older I recognize in him the kind of melancholy that makes your bones impossibly heavy, but still I don’t understand him, don’t know him at all. I wish I could tell him that all I wanted from him was his company, that just being there would suffice. I’d ask him if he loved me at all and if yes, why wasn’t it enough to keep him around. I don’t know how I feel about him and I don’t know if there’ll ever be love in my heart that isn’t tainted by anger.

Not sure why I wrote all this, forgive me for the melodrama. Guess I’m just thinking out loud.