"I am not amused darling."
She was a snarky Fairy Godmother with a snappy comeback for everyone.
Miss Geraldine Carey, also known as Auntie Mame to her nearest and dearest, was everything I ever wanted to be when I grew up.
In a wheelchair since she was 18 year(more)s old, my Aunt Gerri was the definition of glamorous. Surrounded by fabulous gay men long before the days of the Stonewall Riots, she was my shining star.
Muscular dystrophy crippled her body early in her life but never stopped her from doing anything she wanted to do. Aunt Geri was beautiful, porcelain skin, gorgeous red hair, a sharp wit and a biting tongue. If she'd been able to stand, she would have been 5'10" but she was a commanding presence even as she reclined in her hospital bed surrounded by family and friends.
As a young girl I'd sit in her wheelchair rolling around her bed as she'd talk about her jet-set lifestyle with her wealthy gay friends as they cavorted through New York City's theater district. She had the voice of a sultry angel and a passion for the finer things in life, both of which she passed onto me but I could never hope to hold a candle to her.
She was the Star, and she called me her Ingenue.
Aunt Geri proudly presented a beautifully-blue box to me on my 16th birthday, my first and only piece of Tiffany jewelry and brought me back my first and only piece of haute couture from her solo trip to Italy.
Last time I saw my Godmother was the day she died, lying in a hospital bed on oxygen, smoking a cigarette. She managed to squeeze more out of life in her short 40 years than most do in a lifetime.(less)
My daughter just turned two and she has four aunts. Three of them are my sisters, the other is my wife’s. The four of them are always competing for her affections. Expensively.
At last count, she had accumulated: seven princess dresses (three white, two pink and two burgundy-ish),(more) five tutu skirts, nine pairs of jeans, three jackets, thirteen pairs of shoes (one or more gladiators, ballet pumps, wedges, flats, boyfriend shoes, uggs and crocs) and eleven different hats. My wife isn’t into hats, so I don’t know what they’re called.
Toys are a lost cause.
And then, every aunt wants photographs of the baby. Wearing her clothes or playing with her toys, and her clothes and toys alone. The last time I mixed and matched, they awwwwed in public as always, but in private, they were not amused.
As of last month, she had outgrown, or lost interest in, all of them. My youngest sister just sent me a tracking number for the next shipment.
I tell them to take it easy. I worry they might be teaching her to respond to gifts and money rather than words and actions. I worry, because I know what boys are like at sixteen. Hot blooded little bastards spending their fathers’ cash on my baby.
But my little girl, she’s incorruptible, I know it.(less)
The laughter of the others pinned Greg to the window. There was only so much space and air inside the well-loved Honda Civic. Greg felt like he was running out of both.
Steve told the best stories, he really did. He had an inherent aplomb for pacing out moments and sharing(more) just the right details. He made quick, grand gestures as needed, taking his hands off the wheel.
Beyond the smudged backseat glass, trees and mile markers buzzed by, blurs of natural and artificial green. Beyond that, the river passed slower, barely seeming to flow in the opposite direction of their travel. Gone were the rocks that usually broke the river's surface; it had rained so much this year.
Steve was making a tight sweep of a gesture, stirring a cyclone in the Civic's limited air. Everyone else laughed again. The car seemed to bounce in its lane, mirthful.
Steve's freshman sister clicked the front passenger seat back a few notches, slamming into Greg's knees. Steve's girlfriend, sandwiched in the middle seat between Greg and the mysterious roommate known only as Fletch, began the contortions necessary to remove her hoodie.
The story ended, the river continued. Everyone laughed.
Ahead of the Civic, a boxy old minivan traveled at an insufficient rate of speed. Steve slipped the car into the left lane and accelerated, causing all four cylinders to growl. The river drifted away.
The side panel of the minivan was matte grey, recent bodywork; the same color as the river, the sky, and the sleeve of Steve's girlfriend's sweatshirt, flipping in and out of his vision.
For a moment, the car was silent save for the static between radio stations.
"You alright back there, Greg? You getting too much air?"
Greg didnt' look away from the river. "Nah. I'm fine."(less)
Answerless riddles are mating with my squirmish thoughts
they swirl and ferment inside my skull; pulsating neurons in my head
I feel it before I hear it, as the laughter bubbles up from within me
but there is nothing to find amusing, and my hope lay dying, now dead(more) the last of the cords holding together my sanity are frayed and slipping quickly
I am helpless to restring them alone, so far beyond my arm's reach
I can sense this rushing of maniacal laughter building up within me again
and then my fear seems to dissapate as my mind travels to lands with too strange a concept to teach
this sudden, burning desire fills me, and I think I'll cut myself loose, allow myself to go now
I'll float on down this hideously contorting river of giggling screams that I've dreaded to face
yet all such fears have begun to fade as my undeniably worthless grasp is slowly released
destined in time for me to reside, here is a numbing, emotionless, vile and heartless place
Death's threatening gaze carries no weight in an existance which lies always so lifeless as this
already, I've relinquished myself to surviving as no more than a zombie, a vacant shell, chained and bound in a permanent, deep and impenetrable trance
I once clutched an empty chalice to fill the hole from whence my inner peace had, long before, fled
abandoned then, abandoned again, my only company fated to be the humorless laughter that comes flooding from my open mouth and leaves me a twitching death-maiden, bound to a passionless, eternal dance
Almost all of us loved the show. We'd laugh at the right times and clap when appropriate.
That one guy, a real jerk, hated the show. His big problem with it was that he had to be on stage telling the jokes, instead of in a seat an(more)d enjoying it.
Occasionally, he'd break down into a fit of tears. Whenever that happened we, a group of professionals trained to keep this one guy, a complete dick, happy, were forced to climb onto the stage and treat to his wounded ego.
We weren't allowed to tell him any jokes, that was his job and the guy's union didn't want us working their angle. He'd say "yeah yeah, okay," get back up and continue the show.
Night after night, breakdown after breakdown, we stopped him crying. We got him to go back to the job that brought so much laughter to everyone around him.
Not once did he thank us. We were quite hurt by that. (less)