I get a call from my Aunt Patty. She says she’s been thinking about me a lot lately, she wants to know how I’ve been, and wants to know when we can see each other.
We set a date and I drive down from Somerset to their Beachwood house for dinner. My aunt and uncle have lived there my entire life. As I pull into their driveway, I remember spending summer weekends in their backyard with my brother when we were kids. We took turns pulling each other around in a red wagon, running through the garden sprinkler, and hiding from their crazy, deaf, long-haired white cat named Nova.
My uncle doesn’t eat with us at the table. He was diagnosed with cancer years ago and his chemo has had him on a liquid diet for the past couple of years. Aunt Patty cooks a steak for the two of us on the grill outside on the porch and after we catch up, the conversation turns towards my mom.
I load up my fork with peas on the individual prongs.
My Aunt Patty, recalling a conversation she had with my mother, “I said,’Hey Sue, why don’t you talk to your daughter?’ That’s what we always ask her. She never gives a straight answer.”
“Yeah,” I say, unsure of what exactly to say and trying to remain from cracking my warm exterior. “She won’t return my calls or texts. You told me a while ago she said she did her part in raising me- that she was done?”
“You know, Case. It’s messed up. It really is. If you were my daughter, you wouldn’t be left alone for a minute. I’d call you every day just to see what you were doing.”
I nodded my head in agreement, “Yeah, I know.” What else was there I could say? Mom said she’s done with me.
After dinner, I sat with Uncle Eddie in the living room and watched some t.v. before heading home. “Uncle Eddie?” I pause. “Do you have any- do you have any idea why she won’t talk to me?”
“Honestly,” he says, “I think she’s jealous of you.”