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Behind My Nose

A bitter, yet heady bouquet of outwardly focused criticism, observation and praise.

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

I'm a leftist bookseller, writer and sometimes activist. I'm not "high-energy," "outgoing," or "outdoorsy," nor do I enjoy sports (except for watching football) or other pointless activities such as kayaking, entertaining large groups of acquaintances in my home or tossing pointy objects at targets. I love to write short fiction & essays. I love laughing really hard and breathing fresh air. I'm a transman. I live with my partner, Kris, a narcoleptic bulldog, a hound dog and a cat.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Aunt Mary

My Aunt Mary died yesterday. She seemed too strong, too ornery to die. But I guess lymphoma is meaner than anyone.

I had to ask my mother how to spell my Aunt Mary's last name. In my own defense, her last name is Winterrowd, so it's not like it was obvious. I'm not sure I even got it right that time. The point is, I have never spent very much time with Aunt Mary. Quite frankly, she scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid. She is 350+ pounds of hard smoking, hard living, hard laughing will power.

Maybe the fact that I didn't know her very well is the reason I'm so upset by her death. When I think of my childhood, she's one of the main characters in it. When I laugh hard I sound like her. Her daughter took a leave of absence to be with her in her last days and they complained about each other constantly - a sign in my family that means they loved each other very much. Mary told people she wanted a nanny cam in her house so Brenda couldn't mistreat her. Brenda would tell her that she had access to her medicine so she better watch out.

When I transitioned, my mom was scared that her family wouldn't accept me. So when Uncle Ralph died, I was reluctant to go to the funeral. I didn't want it to be about me. After all, it was his day. But Mary told mom, "Well, why wouldn't he come? We don't care about that!" When she saw me, she slapped me and called me a "shit ass" and told me I was bald. It was the best homecoming I could have asked for.

I will go to her funeral this week without hesitation.

I loved her. I will miss her. Goodbye Aunt Mary.


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