Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 48

Blanche By James Penha My aunt Blanche remarried after waking up years earlier in bed with the body of my uncle who had not been easy to live with since teaching  my cousin in the school playground’s twilight to bike he sped into a chain that flipped him on his head hard with losses of hearing, vision, mental acuity,  and equanimity. I saw Blanche mornings of my visits  sitting silently, stoically, solitarily, in her sewing room  suffering the aftermath of frustrations and outbursts  until he yielded. I stayed close enough to usher her  wedding to the Palm Beach burgher who doted on Blanche in his declining years. I hosted their visit when I moved to Asia, Blanche stouter while Walter rather wizened. After a while she awoke to find herself  a widow again, and half-a-world apart we lost track somehow for thirty years. Oh, I called when her elder son,  like her husbands, passed away in his sleep. A mother,  she averred, should not outlive her child. But life follows no rules, and last week, her younger, my itinerant  cousin, the journalist, the drinker, died of liver cancer.  Only because the obit noted his mother survived did I think to locate my aunt and call to hear her commit  to sit now and work out how to go on and on through the rest of her nineties without husbands or boys  but one remote nephew who promises to call from time to time. A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his LGBTQ speculative story “Leaves” was a finalist for the 2017 Saint & Sinners Literary Festival Short Fiction Contest. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016. Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online jou ɹɕд)ٕ́ )A(