Aunty Mu

Aunty Mu had the look of a Lauren Bacall in her youth and uncle was very much her Humphrey. Now he has long gone and she is approaching a hundred. She still smokes though.

I tell her that now she can expect more visits from her helpers. ‘Have you had any more visits?’ I say on the phone and she knows immediately what I mean. ‘I haven’t told anyone else, Allie,’ she says. ‘I don’t want them to think that I am losing my mind.’ I don’t tell her that potentially the whole world knows, as I’ve included the information in a post. The world wide web is one of those things that Aunty Mu dismisses as beyond her time, like blow jobs and the i phone.

I want to tell her that at the end uncle will come to collect her and help her over but I don’t think the time is right. I don’t want to bring the end unnecessarily near. I love my Aunty Mu. I look at her long and beautiful hands with the polished almond nails and the rings now held on with bits of wool and I wonder what my life will be like when she has gone. She has been the perfect Aunty. Stylish, articulate, intelligent, wise, knowing, kind and generous. And always on my side. When I was young and confused by life, choices, men and the who-am-I questions, it was to Aunty Mu that I fled for reassurance. I’ve always found her presence comforting and now the time is running out for us in this dimension. I can tell when I am with her that she has already placed one foot in another world. ‘What will I do without you?’ I say in my narcissistic way, as we sit at her kitchen table while she smokes her mid-morning cigarette and I eat digestive biscuits.’You’ll manage,’ she replies in that silky voice that people reserve for their beloved pets and Aunty reserves for me.

And I will manage. But I know too that I will miss her in my heart and the shape of my life. In the meantime I am aware of the gift of our relationship and grateful for the chance to draw this close to the mystery

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