Coming away from her most recent visit with fresh tears in the corners of her eyes, my grandma always had a delusional way of explaining why my cousin Leila was the way she was. "Overindulged," "an only child," "doesn't know how to share herself," "shy."
(more) I knew the actual answer. Leila was a cunt. Fey, blonde, gangly - she was lovely to look at. It was a continuous shock to stumble into septic field of her personality; it created a dissonance that made less ruthless spirits like my gran second-guess themselves. Nevertheless Leila was loved desperately by my gran. It was her son's only child, a gorgeous girl late to the family ballgame, arriving when the other grandkids were all well into our teens. So I kept my yap shut.
At family dinners Leila sat cross-legged, playing with her anklet, never saying much. Quiet, but that didn't make her shy. Smiling, but that didn't make her sweet. Her utterances had two parts: 1a.What she'd say aloud when kindly overtures were made in her direction, 1b.the part she would mutter.
1a.No, she didn't want seconds 1b:she didn't want to be fucking fat like everyone else. 1a.Thanks for the gift, granma 1b.Walmart piece of shit.
Leila grew older, made straight-As, worked out, and kept my gran at a distance. Like a lovelorn suitor my gran piled on the gifts, the requests for lunch, and wondered aloud what Leila was doing any particular moment.
At her funeral Leila attended the church service but didn't go to the grave. "My nylons have a run," she explained.
Later I saw she'd Tweeted about the time the coffin was going into the ground.
"The ass you ate for doesn't compare to the ass I worked for," with a pouty-faced, flexing gym selfy. It had 46 "likes." (less)