By Rachel Matuch (@RachelMatuch)
When my grandma first met my boyfriend, she was delighted.
“A redhead!” she said. “You know, I once had an affair with a redhead.”
“Grand-ma!” I protested, like she was a dog tracking mud in the house, not an 84-year-old woman who ought to know better. I wished I had a better response, but no well-worded admonishment could have turned on the filter she’d never had.
Her comments can turn my stomach like I’m still a kid learning that grown-ups are messed up. Grandma’s alcoholism. Grandma’s affairs. Grandma abandoning my five-year-old dad, his four siblings, and my grandpa for another man. Coming back after the new guy died, like nothing happened.
Last week, out to lunch with my mom and me, she reminisces about Grandpa. “He wasn’t abusive,” she says, then pauses. “Well, a therapist once said it wasn’t right that he’d buy me vodka if I’d have sex with him.”
I choke on my water, dumbstruck. Grand-ma! Grand-pa! She suddenly smiles and bounces in her seat. “It’s fun being out with the girls!” There’s not a hint of irony in her voice, so we roll with it.