Real Housewives of Orange County – 10/5/15

October 6th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Life in the eighth grade just wasn’t easy. I don’t allow my present mind to flutter back to those days all that often, but every now and again a song will come on the radio and before I can even stop it from happening, I find myself conjuring up terrifying images of the unflattering short haircut I was talked into getting by friends I now believe might really have been very stealth enemies. It was a look defined by the kind of uncontrollable frizz that could have potentially toppled an empire and it was smack dab on top of the head of a girl whose self-esteem was already quaking due to the braces plastered across her teeth and not nearly enough Champion sweatshirts hanging in her closet. It was a rough time and it was made exponentially more difficult the day my mother announced that she was marrying a man I knew full well was a putz. For the purposes of this little tale, I am going to call him Bill – because that’s his real name and I see no need to protect the anonymity of a putz.

It’s not that Bill was a terrible person, but he kind of made me sick to my stomach. He wasn’t particularly smart and he definitely wasn’t funny and he took up space in a home that already felt rather crowded after stuff like a divorce had gone down. He wasn’t cruel to me in the slightest – he bought me a black and white cookie every time he went to the corner store to buy the newspaper, so there was some kindness there – but I could tell that he was threatened by how successful my mother was in her career and that kind of reaction revolted me. The distaste I had for him spread quickly, like a particularly fungusy outbreak of athlete’s foot, and it didn’t take long for me to decide that I hated the following things about a man who lived in my house:

1. I detested the way he ate pasta. There was no delicate twirling of a noodle and certainly no quiet slurping ever went down. Instead, it was Bill’s face and his mouth and a plate of food engaging in what looked and sounded like a full-contact sport and thinking about it even now might have finally put me off carbohydrates forever.

2. I loathed the way he snored. My bedroom was upstairs in those days and the bedroom he shared with my far more tolerant mother was right beneath me. I heard the rumbling of his snores through my floorboards each and every night, and I’d tell you that I’m ashamed that I sat awake often and contemplated how to frame someone else for his death, but that would be a lie. I felt absolutely no shame for anything except for the fact that I never made it a priority to devote my time to making some friends who were far less morality-minded than I was and had a basement where one could hide a body.

3. I finally realized one day what it was that I truly abhorred the most: the way Bill breathed. It was loud – and he insisted on doing it all the time! The breathing sounded like it was amplified and I felt like there was nowhere I could go without hearing it invade my eardrums. I very calmly tried to explain to my mother that her husband’s breathing made me want to shove a spike clear through my eardrum to escape the pain that his conversion of oxygen brought to me, but she wasn’t all that understanding and acted like maybe it was me who had the issue! It took me only a little while to realize that the actual problem at hand was that I just wanted him to be doing his breathing in anyone’s house but mine.

I never smothered the guy and I never told him about the dark fantasies his very presence brought forth in my developing psyche because to do so felt cruel and I really did enjoy my daily bakery cookies. My mother ended up coming to her scattered senses all on her own a few years later and Bill left our home and our lives forever. For a few years afterwards, I’d have dreams where I’d punch him right in the face, but those dreams – like many – eventually faded and I rarely even think about Bill anymore, though sometimes when it’s windy I swear it’s really him breathing hard somewhere close by and I consider moving immediately.

Bill’s icky presence came swimming back into my head as I watched the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County because of Brianna’s reaction to being in a house that used to be her home and is now the place where Brooks rests his weary head. He’s not resting it there at the moment, though. No, Brooks is traveling on business, which could very well translate into, “The guy is looking for the newest blonde moron to try to swindle,” but even in his absence, Brianna can feel the grimy remnants of his presence. It’s like when you burn something you probably shouldn’t have even been cooking in the first place and there’s a smell that won’t leave the air. That’s what Brooks is like: he is the overwhelming lingering odor of burnt popcorn mixed with rotten broccoli that can’t be scrubbed free no matter how hard you try, no matter how many lavender-scented air fresheners you plug in, no matter how many exorcists you eventually call into the home to give you a cross-wielding hand in the matter.

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