I sniffed and sniffed. I couldn't believe how much I had missed this smell. The smell of blown out candles, fresh cut flowers, a hint of garlic, and the overwhelmingly strong smell of cheap perfume that my aunt had always worn, this was the smell of my childhood home. I couldn't believe that even after years and a move that spanned thousands of miles that my aunt could still evoke that smell.
It's still funny to me after all these years that I refer to Marie as my aunt when 1) Marie is in no way shape or form related to my mother or father and 2) Marie was, for all intents and purposes, my mother. My actual mother died not long after my eighth birthday from a long battle with breast cancer. I couldn't believe a person could lose someone so important to them as their mother at so young an age. I thought that it was all a bad dream and I would wake up to my mother soothingly sitting on the edge of my bed telling me everything would be alright.
It wasn't until Marie walked me to the ominous dark coffin that held the remains of my beloved mother that the truth really set in. At that point, I was inconsolable. My mother had been my best friend, the woman who helped create and cultivate the imaginary worlds I lived in. She was the high queen of the faeries, the captain of the pirate ship, the owner of our ludicrous hybrid dog washing/lemonade stand. How would I survive with out her?
Luckily I had Marie, my mothers oldest most trusted friend. She was the only one in the world that I could have ever imagined attempting to fill the hole that my mothers death left behind. She was one of many beloved "family" members that consisted of the people my mother decided were her family.
I had heard the rumors of my blood relatives from whispered conversations in back rooms with Marie, or in left behind letters that my mother tried to write but forgot to clean up. They seemed to be a group of rich over-privileged people who thought themselves better than everyone. That was how my mother portrayed them.
Frankly even at 8 I wanted nothing to do with a family who made half-ass attempts to meet me. I'm sure my mother was relentless about keeping me away from them, but still it never seemed like they tried that hard. I had a family who loved me, supported me, and then raised me after my mother died and that's all I will ever need in the entire world.
To explain my life growing up I would first have to explain what kind of people my mother and Marie were. Both of them were scatterbrained to a fault, that's probably why I like to take care of people, neither of them were really that reliable. At a young age I had to be the adult. I loved both of them and I didn't mind being responsible but looking back sometimes I missed out on just being a kid.
To be continued!