She comes to me in dreams sometimes.
Aunt Mar is in the kitchen of her old apartment of Parsippany. She greets me cheerfully, casually, as if only a few weeks without seeing each other have passed. If she’s at all surprised to see me, it doesn’t show.
Aunt Mar is making eggplant parmesan. Without looking, I know there’s one portion made with chicken already in the oven because she knows I don’t like eggplant. It is always made clear to me that I am her favorite, just as she is mine.
I am overjoyed to see her, but also confused. Hurt. Angry. Why had she had left me? I was only sixteen. I needed her so badly.
I want to scream “you died! How are you here?” But would speaking the words aloud pierce the veil and make my happy dream evaporate? I am afraid.
What do you think of me? Of this person I’ve become?
Do you still love me? I hope I haven’t let you down.
Where did you go? Please don’t leave again. I still need you.
I’ll be OK. I just love you so much.
I say nothing. I let her hold me in her arms like the child I used to be.
She comes to me in dreams sometimes. Just not nearly as often as I wish.