Monday, April 23, 2012

Kimmydonn Week 100: Sidekicks


Picture 1

Picture 2

Kimmydonn's Choice: Both


I flipped through the album, looking for a photo to include in the memorial. Auntie Jess had been one of my favourites, and I was sure there was a perfect picture of us at Christmas. It was a real drag that she passed so close to Christmas. I’d bought the tree but hadn’t started decorating it yet. I wasn’t sure I wanted to anymore.

“What is that?” Holly asked, reaching over my arm to stop me turning the page.

I paused, not really seeing the Halloween photo. “Huh?”

“That is so adorable! Who was the Robin with so many Batmans? That side kick had his work cut out for him, I think.”

I scowled a little. “That’s me.” It was supposed to be me and Joey, my best friend, as Batman and Robin, and then Peter and Mike had both showed up as Batman too. I couldn’t remember which parent or teacher had asked us all to line up, but I’d been miffed. It was a forced smile, about as authentic as those of the batmen around me. Adorable. Sure.

I turned the page with a little more force than necessary, swatting Holly’s hand away. “I’m looking for Aunt Jess,” I reminded her, “not a bunch of stupid boys.”

Her arms wrapped around my neck. “I’m sorry, honey. I know how much you loved her. At least you got to say goodbye.”

It had been the worst hour of my life, sitting holding my Aunt’s hand as machines beeped around us. She wasn’t awake, couldn’t answer me. She gave my hand a small squeeze, which was more than my cousins or mother had gotten from her. It still seemed feeble. Such a crappy way to say goodbye.

“I guess.” I flipped the page and brightened for the first time that day. “There! That’s it.” I pulled back the plastic covering the sticky page. The photograph must have been nearly twenty years old. I was just a toddler in it, and Auntie Jess and I were both dressed as angels.

“Oh, Don, that’s perfect.”

“Yeah.” Seeing her smile, slightly shaky, made me realize how much I’d snapped at her, how little I’d paid attention to my wife, my mate, my sidekick. “I’m sorry I’ve been out of it lately,” I told her as I rose from the chair.

She stepped up and hugged me tightly, kissing my cheek. “I understand. I know how close you were. I’m so sorry she’s gone.”

My breath seemed to catch in my throat and I knew I’d be in tears before long. “Yeah,” was all I managed to say.

Holly seemed to see my predicament and let go to take my hand. “Come, look. I got the tree up.”

How long had I been searching the albums? Not that long. Long enough, it seemed. The tree’s lights sparkled and although I hadn’t been sure I would celebrate this Christmas, seeing Holly lit by the different colours, I was glad to get to spend it with her.

“It looks amazing. Almost as amazing as you,” I said, releasing her hand to take her waist and pull her close. “Merry Christmas, Holly.”

Her reply was muffled by my kiss.


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