Primo wants me to try to have a good relationship with Sly.
I thought that once Doris was dead - and I thought this because Primo and I talked about it before Doris died - that Primo would more or less shake the dust from his feet and not darken Sly's door again.
That is not the sentiment now.
I am hoping it is just because Primo is now in his sixth week (with only two very short two-day breaks) of taking care of Sly (and of Doris). Every day, he drives to the hospital and back to Sly's house, which is 75 miles. He is the one talking to the doctors. He is the one who has arranged - thus far - Doris' funeral. He is the one keeping all Sly's relatives informed and talking to Ted when Ted calls asking for a list of all the drugs Sly is taking. He is the one feeding the cats at Sly's and cleaning their box and outside their box (they have bad habits). He is the only one doing this and he has no friends down there and no support, except for Stephanie, who helped him sort through some of Doris' clothes yesterday.
He is exhausted and cranky and I hope it's the exhaustion talking.
But when he called yesterday and said he thought things would just get worse and I agreed, I didn't meant, "They will get worse and you will have to be the one to fix them."
I meant, "Yes, your father's health will probably not improve and he will have to do something he does not want to do, which is either hire help or move to assisted living."
And then I made the stupid mistake of saying, "At least your dad won't whine so much about the holidays. He's the super atheist, so why should he care about Christmas? He's the one who doesn't want to be around other people."
And then Primo moaned and said, "And what am I going to do about THE HOLIDAYS?"
I said, "The same as we always have, which is what we decided when we got married, which is that we spend them at home."
"Yeah, because YOU don't like being around my parents."
I was stung. "It's not like you have wanted to go there, either!"
"Yeah, but then I feel like I have to anyhow, so I end up going near the holidays."
"Well, at least your dad has two other sons."
"So he can spend them with Jack!"
"You don't even like my dad!"
"No, but it's because he doesn't like me and has never been nice to me."
"Today, Ted [remember Ted flew in yesterday or the day before] was saying something nice about you to my dad and my dad said something mean about you."
"I have to hear it from him all the time, how I made such a big mistake in my second marriage."
I want to say, "Then why don't you say, 'Dad, shut the heck up or I am walking out of this room, not to return,'" but I do not.
"I want you to try to have a good relationship with him," he said.
"OK. What would I have to do?"
"I don't know!"
"I didn't mean that sarcastically. I mean it sincerely. What exactly do I need to do for your father to like me?"
"I don't know!"
And hence the problem. The problem, I think, is that Sly does not like me. Since the beginning, he and Doris saw me as competition for Primo's love. I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive.
At least, I don't think there was one instant where I did something that was so offensive that a RATIONAL PERSON would be offended.
Primo continues. "And he is in complete denial of reality. Now he's talking about buying a condo."
"At least that would solve the yard problem, but it doesn't solve anything else."
"And he doesn't want to go to rehab. He wants to go home. He says he misses his cats."
"I can understand that. And he gets to choose. But he doesn't get to require you to be his caretaker."
"I think our summer is going to be ruined," Primo sighed.
Yeah, me too.
We got off the phone. I thought about it. I thought about what a jerk bully sly is. And then I looked at some cancer survival stats.
I messaged Primo. I will do this because I love him. I will write a fawning letter to Sly telling him I want a good relationship (which is actually true: I would love to have a father in law whom I like and with whom I get along!). I will ask him what I need to do. I will put the ball in his court.
11 hours ago