When you hear that your aunt has passed, cry. Then, enlist the help of an organizer and a maid. Bring these two wonders in a red Toyota to your aunt’s seaside abode. House them in the first floor parlor and make sure you sleep upstairs in the guest room facing the sea. Let them know that your aunt was a great woman.

(Did I tell you that Aunt Estelle had a loud laugh and petite feet? That she won the hearts of many with her sweet songs of love and loss and her donations to orphaned children?)

When you open the lady’s closets and drawers, clap. Know that her hats, gloves and shoes made her the adored Minnie Mouse of the fashion world. Devise a game plan, a strategy you learned as a boy. Admire her gloves and pack each pair in tissue. Note how they are crocodile-embossed, rabbit cuffed, fox sheared, and mink suede. Adore your aunt’s handbags. Touch the red leather, the distressed city sack, the shiny python tote and the snake clutch. Do not let on that you are horrified by her repeated animal and reptile killings.

(Did I tell you that Estelle never married? That her father, rich from his steel companies, moved his long hands over her small breasts— that she went off to boarding school at twelve and never came back?)

As you enter the downstairs hallway, stand tall and applaud the lady’s fifty pairs of boots. Know that her daily choices were driven by this burning question– How many ways can you do black? Try her buckle-suede shorties on your toes and peer into their tiger-print insides. Put your arms in her wildcat-lined knee highs. Stroke the ostrich feathers stitched into her dark mid-calf leather, thick-heeled boots. Be aware that the latter are the boots du jour in Manhattan.

Published by SLAB literary journal.