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Friday, February 13, 2009

Number on the Fridge

Tuesday morning I was sitting in the love seat, sipping on my must have cup o java. The sun was shining, the temp outside my window a nice and cool 57 degrees. The skies were clear, the birds were chirping, and it seemed all was right with the world. Then the phone rang, and what started out as a potentially awesome day turned to shit.

My Aunt had passed away the night before from a massive heart attack.

This was a woman I adored from the first time we met. I was an idealistic 9 year old at the time, still trapped in that middle ground between youth and young adulthood. One that adored horses so much her bedroom walls, shelves, and ceiling was adorned with figurines, posters and stickers of the four legged creatures.

So naturally, when I met my Uncles new girlfriend Laura, a fellow horsehound and kindred spirit - I was in love. And strangely, so was she. I would go visit my Dad each weekend (parents were divorced) and would ask the minute I set rear inside his massive red Chevy truck "are we going to see Aunt Laura?" He used to tease me by asking, "do you come to visit me or her on the weekend?"

I spent several summers on her farm, chasing the horses in the pasture, pestering the pigs and chickens around the house, and sometimes I'd just climb into the loft of the barn and soak in the delicious scent of sweet feed that permeated the entire place during the summer.

It was a magical time, and at the center was Aunt Laura.

She did other things for me through the years, bestowing gifts every little girl dreams of, like a pony with a big red bow in the front yard for Christmas (I was 10) but the thing I loved best about her was the way I could talk to her about anything. She never treated me like a child, never acted as if I were inferior because of the fifteen year age gap between us.

Then one day Laura decided her partying days with my Uncle and his crew had come to an end, and shortly after, they broke up. It was devastating, but I understood. She'd been abusing narcotics for years and I was proud of her for making the difficult choice and getting away from the lifestyle.

She cut my Uncle from her life but not me, and I truly believe the reason I didn't dally in the drug infested culture that is high school was a direct result of watching the suffering she endured to get clean.


Then, around 12 years ago, she met and married a man. She soon became pregnant and had a child of her own - Mikaela Lee. I continued to call and visit when I could but her old man didn't care for the reminder of her previous relationship (aka me) and eventually, we fell out of touch.

A few months ago, I got a call from my sister, along with Laura's telephone number. She had bumped into her at a gas station and she'd asked about me. I jotted the number down on one of the school calendar's on the fridge, intending to call after supper was eaten and baths were taken care of - but it didn't go according to plan. By the next morning, I was packing kids off to school, preparing lunches, and I totally forgot about the number on the fridge.

And now, I'll never get to make that phone call.

3 comments:

Tania said...

Oh Jaime, I'm so sorry! Lots of hugs!!!

Lawfrog said...

I am so sorry for this tremendous loss. Remember though, that you were a wonderful part of her life just as she was of yours. She carried those memories with her for her life and I know that in times of sorrow or grief, she pulled them out and they brought her comfort and joy.

Perhaps you can call her daughter and just let her know how much her mother meant to you. I'm sure her daughter could use such a call right about now.

HUGS!

raecatherine said...

I'm sorry for your loss Jaime. I hope your memories bring you comfort. Forgive yourself for not making the last phone call--somewhere, somehow, I know that Laura knows just how much she meant to you.