Gift of Compassion

Aunt Lily slides into the room like a moon lit cat crossing the backyard. She gently closes the bedroom door behind her and perches on the foot of the bed. She tilts her head slightly before asking, “How are you?”

I can’t formulate a lie fast enough, so I just shrug my shoulders and look down at the prescription bottle that is still in my hands. I can feel aunt Lily’s eyes settle on it, too. As I look up, I realize I am right. Her eyes shift from the pills to my eyes.

“Your mom told me what’s going on,” She says.

I look back down and roll the prescription around between my fingers.

“How are you feeling?”

I can’t bring myself to answer.

Aunt Lily braces herself against the bed with the palms of her hands, straightening her spine and lifting her face to the ceiling for a moment. Then she relaxes and begins again, “I’ll tell you what, I think it’s all a bit overwhelming.”

“Yeah.” It seems like the appropriate response.

“You’re Mom is . . . ” she seems to be searching for the rights words. I smile at the difficulty.


“She does love you, and she means well.”

I raise my eyebrows as my diaphragm snaps a tiny puff of air through my vocal cords. A doubtful grunt reverberates behind my closed mouth. It’s interesting how automated that reaction is. Aunt Lily chuckles.

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