Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aunt Helen

My Aunt Helen died suddenly, over the weekend. I was very close to her. At least, I was before the daily routine of my life took hold. When I was a kid, I would go visit my cousin Jennifer in Brooklyn. I would stay for a week or so. Being in Brooklyn was like going to India for me. Incredibly foreign. It smelled different. It sounded different. The people looked different. Even there house seemed so different to me. It was an old row house, on a tree lined street. The bathroom was upstairs. It had a window in the door. I never understood that. There was always a towel hung over the pane of glass. The hot and cold water came out of seperate spouts in the sink. When the heat came up, it was loud, and it hissed. The view out the back windows were of an alley, and the whole row of houses on the block behind. You could here people sneezing, and phones ringing. Conversations, and arguements. The sounds of cooking, and honking horns. It was such a different place. Exciting, and alive.
My Aunt Heleln worked full time, in the city. She took the bus there everyday. She came home at night, and cooked dinner for everyone. She smoked. She had incredibly long fingers. She was very tall. She wore liquid eyeliner. She always listened to me. Not like I was a kid, but like I was an equal. She listened to my broken hearts as I got older, and sat up with me until late in the night, drinking wine, and smoking cigarettes. She gave me advice, and she always gave me hope.
There are not many people, beside the people in your immediate family, that you feel love from. I felt my Aunt's love. I would see her face light up when I walked into a room. I would hear her happiness with each baby I had. I knew that she was there. I always thought she would be there. I never got to tell her how very much I loved her.
And now, she is not there.

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