Fates Less Than Death

Great Aunt Julie was an in-law and therefore doomed.


My grandfather and his seven siblings saw each other into old age.

They were septuagenarians and all still alive.

The first-born sister had been living with cancer for four years

and just seemed a little tired.


Only the in-laws ever died. Only the in-laws were vulnerable.

All fates considered, Great Aunt Julie did all right.


Aunt Julie came into the family by marrying the second brother.

When she was in her middle years, she left one day without a word.

No one knew where or why she had gone.


Years later, her husband got a call from the motherland.

It was Julie, asking him to bring her back home.

He drove all the way to Quebec

and found her living with nuns.


From then on, Julie and her husband were only friends

who lived together.

He helped her dye her hair unconscionable colours.

My grandfather once said she looked like Eddie Munster.


Sometimes, someone wanted to ask why

Julie disappeared all those years ago.

But they didn’t.

Her stories never made any sense anymore, anyways.


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