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I went to visit my aunt a few days ago. I haven’t seen her in thirty-five years because she divorced the family way back when for some reason I was not much a part of. It had something to do with her parents, my grandparents, not doing right by her. I think the complaint had to do with how they raised her.

Don’t we all fail our children one way or another? Who gets perfect parents?

So she lives in NYC in the same studio apartment she was in when I used to visit her as a kid. My father would take us into town for business and then leave us to find her and spend time there while he was off on an errand. She was great! I loved visiting her! So standing at her door in her hi-rise apartment building was not so unfamiliar. But the idea that my heart would be pounding as I pounded on her door was. You see, I have tried to convince her that visiting might be nice. She sends a Christmas card every year and we’ve spoken on the occasion of each of my parent’s deaths, and her sister’s death, when I called to inform her of these calamities. She was not too interested in those events and even less so in seeing me. So defying her wishes that I stay on my side of her line seemed bold.

I felt it was time to just go there and say hello, though. Time is marching on and the opportunity to get together dwindling. So I stood there, heart pounding, pounding on her door, expecting her to answer. I’d say, hi, it’s me from long ago, want to catch up?

But no one answered and I stood outside the door a long time wondering if she’d show up before I had to go. She didn’t.

I spent the walk to the restaurant where I’d meet my son slowing down to consider the face of every pedestrian I passed just in case it was hers.