Uncle and Aunty Passionating

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In Iggie’s House, a book by Judy Blume, Winnie’s Aunt Myrna shows up to take her swimming, driving her convertible with the top down, wearing red-framed sunglasses. The book, about race, coming of age, and being a tomboy misfit, made no small impression on me, but it was Aunt Myrna who was the revelation. She takes Winnie to the pool, hands her a dollar to buy what she wants and says, offhandedly, she’d like no drownings on her watch. For someone who grew up an expat, without extended family, with five younger siblings and a harrowed mother and father, Aunt Myrna was the unicorn I refused to stop believing in.

Once, the 24-year-old daughter of my mum’s close friend drove over with her best friend, to take us to the park. It was exactly as I imagined. They bought us sugar in multiple media and ran up the slides with us, only stopping now and then for a cigarette. We were driven home delirious with good times, panting and dehydrated. Later, with both in serious relationships, an encore of That Day Of Fun was never to be. But it was enough. I knew when I grew up, I was going to be a Fabulous Aunty.