I peered about the room before I entered, strategising. It was my mother’s annual pre-Christmas party and the room was packed with family members and friends all bustling about and helping themselves to finger foods laid out on a table on one side.
My primary goal was to avoid any awkward conversation about my recent break up with the man everyone had been convinced was going to propose earlier in the month. Nobody would believe that it was mutual, for the best or that I wasn’t actually as devastated as maybe I ought to have been – no, I would instead be looked at with the utmost pity and phrases such as ‘And at thirty two, time is ticking, poor dear’ would follow me as I moved about the room.
Everyone seemed engaged in something – good. If I could just slip in with my head down, grab a cocktail sausage or two and a mince pie, then retreat to a dark corner, that would be perfect.
No sooner had I reached the cold cuts when I was accosted.
“I saw it in the cards, you know,” a whispering voice breathed into my ear.
Oh, no. This is why I had probably made it across the room unscathed – others had seen who was following me and steered well clear.
I took a deep breath and turned with a smile to face my accoster.
“Hello, Aunty Lou,” I said brightly as I could. “How are you?”
She was dressed in her usual array of several mismatched shawls and scarves layered over a loose, long brown dress straight out of the seventies – she had probably owned it since then. A string of old pearls and a lurid orange flower in her greying brown curls completed the look.
The look alone would not have been an issue for me, in fairness. It was the entire attitude that went with it that was trying – and why everyone was giving us a wide berth. I suspected there was now a different kind of pity being directed my way.
“I am well my dear, but so sorry for what has come to pass between you and dear James,” Aunty Lou continued in her typical breathy tones. “As I say, I saw it in the cards. If you like, I can read them for you now? See if the future holds more hope?”
Before I could protest, she pulled out several purple backed cards and fanned them out deftly in her hand.
“No, Aunty Lou, it’s honestly okay – ”
“I insist, dear. Come, come!” Before I could protest, she grabbed my wrist with a grip stronger than her fragile frame might have suggested, and I was being pulled to the dark corner of the room I had been hoping to hunker down in alone.
Nobody attempted to save me. My mother probably would have, but she was still in the kitchen, and all aunts, uncles, cousins and various others stayed firmly in their positions, some even striking up new conversations in order to avoid eye contact with me.
Before I knew what was happening, we were both sat in chairs and Aunty Lou was fanning all the cards out on her lap and muttering to herself.
It was going to be a long evening.
Hi all! So this one is again from the fabulous 642 Tiny Things To Write About, the prompt being ‘Think about your weirdest family member and write one short scene that depicts why he or she is such an oddball’. Note – everything is made up, Aunty Lou isn’t real!
Thanks for stopping by 🙂