“I’ll have what she’s having.”

My brother and I are standing in Grand Central.  We are meeting my aunt for I can’t remember what.  This is a little unusual because the three of us don’t often get together and hang out.

My brother is over six feet tall.  I am almost six feet tall.  My aunt says she is five-foot-one, but I think it’s more like four-ten and personality.  The station is extra especially crowded, so my brother and I are worried that we won’t spot our tiny aunt amidst all the people.

But then we do.  She is swinging through the crowd in a floor-length caramel-colored cape that billows around her as if she is traveling in a cloud.  In that cape, she could be five-one after all.

She greets us and we head for the escalators up to what was then the Pan Am building.  Just before we get on, either my brother or I comment that she seems to be in a good mood.  Before she can answer, she steps onto the escalator and we are separated from her by two or three people.

She answers, unaware that we aren’t right behind her.  She confirms that her mood is good.  She’s happy, she says, and doesn’t need drugs or alcohol to have that be true.  My brother and I smile because she seems to be talking to herself alone.  “I’m high on life!” she exclaims flinging her arms out and sending the wings of her cape flying.  She startles the people around her, but most of them smile, too.  My brother and I laugh out loud.  This is so Auntie — the flash and exuberance, the energetic embrace of life.  We meet at the top of the escalator and continue on our way.



Her college graduation photo.

Saturday she’ll be buried in the double plot she bought to share with her mother, who left us nearly thirty years ago.  I like thinking of them together again.  They have always been so joined in my mind, it’s odd to realize so much time has passed since my grandmother died.



is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.


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