I believed her bag to be the portal to another dimension and she was the gatekeeper.
What’s in the bag? Is what she said before she dived in for the goodies, making a big production out of it.
“What’s in the bag?” I yell, barely containing my excitement. Although it came out as “Wazzinibah?” I’m not known for my eloquence.
I’m too old for this. As a young man just out of the cradle and about to enter prep school, I certainly know that there are no such things as ghosts, and that masquerades only come out under the full moon – Nancy at the daycare swore it was true, as it was her Danta that told her.
As I was saying, I fall for the same trick every time. But can you really blame me. Whenever she opens that bag, it’s heaven on earth. If ever a Paradise of Goodies exists, it’s in there, somewhere in my Great Aunt Neche’s bag. Yes, she spoils me rotten, but once in a while she’s up to no good.
Ack! I try to grab hold of the bag but I miss because my hands are small and chubby. I feel something wet drop on my chest. What’s this? I’m drooling like a dimwit. The horror! Give me the bag woman or face my wrath, I warn her. She dangles the bag before me and I’m hypnotized, eyes glued to the worn brown leather as it sways ever so gently.
“What’s in the bag?” Great Aunt Neche asks as she slowly dips her hand into it. I push up on my equally small and chubby legs, my soggy diaper a dead weight between them, and my face red and puffy. Ah! The harpy is persistent in her folly, even though I’ve cranked up the volume of my screeching, and the nosy old hag next-door started to threaten to come over and deal with me about five minutes ago.
She brings out her hand empty from the bag, smiling recklessly, “Sorry Nna, but I did not bring you anything today. How about tomorrow I buy you a big red stick sweet. Would you like that?” I crossed my eyes as my brain went on overdrive. I see, she tricked me. The nerve of this woman, with her soft brown eyes and wrinkled face etched with deep laughing lines. The false goddess deprives me of her benevolence yet again.
She must have read my mind because she picks me up and nuzzles me, going for my weak spots. She knows all of them. In no time I put a stop to my loud protests and settle like putty in her arms, tracing the veins that crisscross like train tracks.
That was the last time I saw my Great Aunt Neche at our house. Today is the 24th anniversary of her death. My family often wonder why I always look morose on this day, ever year. They say I shouldn’t be able to remember her because I was a toddler when she passed away in her sleep. I don’t even try to explain how my memories of her are still intact. I just eat sweets and miss her.