Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring in the city

Well. What a lovely weekend. Cities once in awhile are so fun for a rural kid like me. I forget how much fun it is just to people-watch, or drink in the fabulous details of 1920s brick buildings, or wander down long lanes strung with bobbing pink tulips. 

When I was 13, I started coming to spend spring break with my aunt Carol, who lives in the Bronx. The tradition lasted eight years. We had so much fun, those weeks. It was a little bit about the shopping, and the museums, and going to the movies-- at least in the beginning. But over time it became more about the friendship I have-- and have always had-- with this great lady. 

Almost everyone has an aunt, and aunts of any kind are a fine thing to have. But my aunt, well. Aunt just doesn't quite do justice to the bond we have. From the beginning she spoiled me rotten, which may have-- I'll be honest-- greased the skids when it came to forming a lifelong relationship. I have clear memories of throwing tantrums when she wanted to use the bathroom by herself. Spending time with her always felt a little bit conspiratorial. In a delicious way. Like we had this totally awesome club thing going on, this girls club, and no one else could gain the privileges that came with being part of such a club. The privilege to stay up way past bedtime eating black olives and painting our nails (that's when I was six or seven), or the privilege to go to bed early after spirited literary debate and a prodigious amount of wine (now that I'm thirty). 

It's still this way between us, though so much has changed in my life-- and in hers. But she still has the same little apartment in the same North Bronx neighborhood, all the restaurants we used to get takeout from are the same, and being back there reminds me of how much I loved spring breaks, and how much I gained without really realizing it. Sometimes I feel like I learned as much about how to be a woman from my aunt as from my mom-- how to be independent, how to revel in solitude. How heartbreak gives you wisdom. And above all, the importance of comfort, whether it comes from junk food, girl talk, or just a really good book.

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Unknown said...

Your finest piece of writing to date.

Becky said...

Wonderful tribute beautifully said! You are both lucky ladies.

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