When it was time for me to go to college, the most logical and economically sound option was for me to live with my aunt. The university was a three hour drive from my childhood home, and my aunt lived a mere twenty minute drive away. My mother more or less made the decision for me, citing the old ‘bird flying the coop’ metaphor, but really I think she just wanted me gone so she could bring home more fuck buddies.
She was a very attractive woman still, her looks not fading with age. I was fortunate enough to inherit some of those looks, or so I’d been told, but none of the charm and charisma that allowed her to lure men into her den for wild fuck sessions. The walls were paper thin and our house wasn’t sizable to begin with. While she had tried to keep the volume down, it hadn’t particularly made a difference, and I didn’t particularly care. Good for her.
It had been a long time since I had seen my Aunt Freya. My only real memories of her were of me hiding from her and blushing severely when we would talk. I remember thinking she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, but I was a child then, and everything seemed to gleam and sparkle back then, didn’t it?
On the drive to her house, my luggage packed into the trunk, my mother was giving me the lecture I had expected. Commit to your studies, no drugs, safe sex, and on and on. I rolled my eyes throughout, playing the role, although I wasn’t actually annoyed. This would be my last time seeing my mother for months, and I was really as afraid of being away as I was excited. Spending time being parented by my mother, even if she was giving me her ‘I’m very serious’ glare, was comforting in its own way.
“Yes Hannah.” I said in exaggerated exasperation.
That was my go-to playful move. Call her by her first name and laugh at her annoyance, knowing she would smile after a moment, maybe even give a laugh in return. I would miss her.
We pulled into Aunt Freya’s driveway as the sun was going down. It was a cute home on a quiet street. Her porch was preceded by a stone path through some trimmed hedges and flowers. The sight unlocked some memories from my younger mind, and I marveled at how, despite seeing something through the same eyes as you once had, it could appear entirely different only a few years later.
My mother lead the way along the path and onto the porch. I saw her raise a fist to knock, then hesitate. She turned and gave me a strange look, then went ahead, announcing our arrival with three sharp knocks.
We only had to wait for a minute, but it felt like an eternity with my heavy bags in each hand. When my aunt opened the door it felt like they only got heavier, my body anticipating the relief of dropping my burden when I stepped through the doorway. Her greeting wasn’t exactly warm – a tight smile and a gesture to come in. I staggered through the door after my mom, setting my bags to the side, then turning to close it behind me.
We were in her kitchen which, while crowded, had a certain charm to it. Pots and pans hung from hooks on the green painted walls. Shelves of oils, honey, vinegar, and jam also adorned the walls. There were nooks for plants and ceramic figurines, and the archway that lead into the living room and hallway was lined with dark mahogany, grounding the room with an earthen vibe. Had we entered the home of Bilbo Baggins? It certainly felt that way.