She sat there helpless. With one leg placed on a cushioned stool. Growing old can be lonely and painful. It was meant to be a very short visit to see Auntie, Mama’s best friend from boarding school. We called her Auntie because of the close relationship she had with Mama. They were more than friends. They shared secrets, families, jokes and a lot of laughter. We thought their relationship was really special.
With marriage, they both travelled with their husbands for many years, to Africa and Europe. BUT stayed close, contacting each other frequently. Visiting and sending each others’ children to spend time in the different and far apart homes. We gained cousins, since they were Auntie’s children. During some holidays we had a dormitory at home. In the garden we played, climbed trees, enjoyed many fruits including mangoes, guava and coconuts.
This friendship was special. We all benefitted. Our mothers invested in property. They had the same values and shared many stories from the early 1950s. They had many British teachers. They talked a lot about being disciplined at school, but shared the many manners they were taught! Theirs was a great girls boarding high school. A very prestigious school that churned out many eloquent ladies, now professionals, but elderly. Yes, since seeing Mama off, Auntie is now on her own. Lonely, in some pain and helpless.
We continue to be the string that holds their bond together. We cherish our cousins and their children. Their children are now our children’s cousins. The string will get longer and stronger as this tie should never break.