How to become a monkey-of-an-uncle.

by Nic Olson

I’ve never been legally married before. But in my head—since the age of ten when I listened to sappy songs about girls and attributed them to specific crushes and fantasized about sitting next to them, marrying them, then growing old with them—in my head I’ve been married a dozen times or so. I hope to never be married again.

I quit my job. It is hard to be married without an adequate job to sustain you, I’d imagine, so maybe now, with no job and zero prospects, my hope to be never married again will stay true. But even without an adequate job to sustain you, your mind can get married as many times as it wants. I may have finally unconditioned myself to the concept of marriage, a terrifying prospect, but my mind still creates its own relationships to the point of me truly wondering what is reality and what isn’t. What happened and what was fabrication.

Quitting was like getting a divorce from a young spouse of several years, I assume. Your interests are solely based on those of the other person for two years, because that is what love is, right? Then you start to hyperventilate and feel the weight on your chest about how little you actually know about yourself and then you drift away, mentally threatening, then verbally threatening, to leave. Then one day, after swimming in a chlorinated pool, you come to the peaceful realization that although you were meant for each other for a while, you weren’t meant for each other forever. Who gets the house? Who gets the years of irreparable anxiety? And then when you realize that you have no backup, no consolation to make you feel better about yourself, you panic that you made the wrong decision and hope to hell that they’ll take you back.

My father recently retired, and my mother for the second time. Just over fifty-five. The fearless soon-to-be grandparents. And in envy I quit my job to travel simultaneously and thus I’ll end up being the monkey-of-an-uncle that still feels eighteen years old when he hits fifty-five. My sister’s child will be born with more natural social instinct and maturity than his uncle, truly demonstrating who the monkey is in the relationship.

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