“As soon as we hang up, I’ll call and see how soon I can get a flight out. Will you be able to pick me up at the airport, or should I rent a car? I know it’s a long drive.”
I was talking to my cousin, Tara, who had just phoned to tell me our Aunt Marti had suffered a stroke. She was at the ripe old age of 99 and things weren’t looking good.
I knew without a doubt that I wanted to go there. I had to say goodbye to the last of my mother’s siblings.
“What?” Tara sounded incredulous.”I never thought for a moment that you would want to come. You haven’t been home in twenty years!”
“Can you pick me up or not?” I asked, a little too impatiently.
“Of course, Dee. Just let me know when you’ll be arriving. I can’t wait to see you, and the long drive back to Pleasant Run will give me a chance to bring you up to date on everything. Small town or not, you’ve missed a lot.”
“Okay, I’ll make arrangements and call you back either this evening or first thing tomorrow…and Tara, thank you for calling me with the news. Give Aunt Marti my love.
One day later, I was on my way. It wasn’t until I had boarded the plane that I finally asked myself the question that Tara hadn’t asked. Why was I going? It wasn’t as if I had ever been especially close to Aunt Marti or anyone else in that town except for Tara. Still, I knew I wanted to be there.
I had asked Tara to make a reservation for me at the local hotel, but she informed me that I would be staying at Aunt Marti’s rambling old house. “It’s just a few blocks off Main Street and within walking distance from where Tom and I live,” Tara had reminded me. “Aunt Marti very well may not be coming home, but regardless, she has plenty of room.
Commerce City was much larger than Pleasant Run, but the airport was small. I had no problem recognizing my cousin Tara, who was standing inside near the little baggage area. She was a fabulous older version of her fabulous younger self. Suddenly, I felt frumpy, but it was a little late to worry about that. As it was, I was trying to stop thinking about the half-eaten bag of sour cream cheddar cheese chips stuffed away in my handbag.
The years melted away as I returned Tara’s smile. It was hard to believe we were both 70. We had gone through twelve years of school together, and then I left Pleasant Run and Tara stayed. I had been back a few times to attend class or family reunions and my parent’s funerals, but all counted, I hadn’t been there more than 20 days in 50 years. And as Tara had mentioned, it had been twenty years since I had been back to my hometown at all.
“Good grief.” Tara said when she saw my bags. “You must have been rather indecisive when you packed. If I’d have known you were bringing this much stuff, I would have tried harder to get my grandson, Jeremy, to come with me.”
“Oh, come on,” I teased. “We can get it all in one trip. How much time do we have for you to catch me up on things in Pleasant Run.
“It’s a two hour drive,” Tara said as she slipped into the driver’s seat. I’m so glad you’re here, Dee,” Tara said as she drove down the desolate highway toward Pleasant Run.
By the time we pulled into Aunt Marti’s drive, my head was spinning. I probably wouldn’t remember half of what Tara had told me, and in a small town, people expect you to remember names and faces not to mention which gossip was okay to repeat and which was not.
I’ll come in and show you where your room is.” Tara said when we arrived. “This is an old house, but I think you’ll be very comfortable. Remember how we loved coming here when we were little?”
My room was lovely. I took the time to hang up my things in the very generous armoire. I was glad I came. This was exactly where I needed to be. I prayed that Aunt Marti would be able to come home. I needed to spend some time with my mother’s sister.
This has me hooked. Intriguing story so far.
70 year old cousins…imagine that
Maybe I am the cousin with the cool name but keep writing.
I really like the choice of words and the flow. A great read.
Thank you, Scoper. It’ll have a little mystery to it.
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