A surprise from the cranky old great aunt.
|I left Aunt Maude in a park. She was dead at the time. I had the certificate. I had the green plastic tub of ashes. Did you know that human ashes are bulky? They only just fit in a two gallon container.
Eventually, I was supposed to scatter her somewhere that held meaning to the cantankerous old bat. But first, I had instructions to carry out. Before she popped her clogs, she had a long bucket list and had not been fully achieved. Now, it was a post-bucket list. The top item was to sleep, overnight, on a park bench.
My city has many parks, some big, some pocket sized. Some with formal flower beds, others are wildlife havens. I chose a discrete bench, tucked away. I did not want her to be found, the tub opened and her remains chucked away. On the other hand, too discrete and she might be sharing her bench with a homeless unfortunate. Trust me, they would know what misfortune was if they had to share with Aunt Maude.
I parked her in a shady nook, and, with heart doing a drum solo, I retreated out of a maze of skeleton trees, grasping brambles and those strange noises that zombies make as they lurch around. Come the dawn, I picked my way back. A hollow-eyed man sat on the bench, cradling the cremation urn. The top was loose.
'Are you the niece?' He asked with an odd gentleness. I nodded. He held out the urn. 'She's a lovely lady.' Not exactly what I was expecting to hear. He fixed me with an extraordinarily blue eye. 'She said, 'Who is in charge here?' He grinned. 'Then told me that she was. And everything was going to be alright.'
Nobody, ever, argues with Aunt Maude.