1. to make smart or spruce: She titivated her old dress with a new belt.
  2. to make oneself smart or spruce

The wind was starting to pick up. Grey clouds rolled across the sky rapidly. It was going to rain soon.

People quickly scurried from one building to the next, trying to evade the cooling temperatures and the foreboding  weather on this dreary October day.

Normally Aimee would do the same, but she didn’t want to make herself comfortable inside some coffee shop, pretending it was just a regular fall day. She needed to keep this meeting short. Her paper on the works of Monet and Manet was not going to be miraculously written by a cadre of small helpers.

She pulled up the collar of her dark grey wool pea coat and crammed her hands farther into her pockets. Her shoulders were hunched in order to stave off the chill as she paced back and forth in front of a concrete statue, trying to stay warm. She turned back around and stood face to face with a woman who looked just like her–the same eyes, the same nose, the same mouth, only there were more wrinkles due to the obvious effects of drugs on the body.

“Here, I brought these for you… they used to be your favorite when you were younger.”

Aimee looked at the offering, unmoved. She had promised Aunt Sarah she would make the effort. Now she wished she hadn’t even said that.

With her gifts still unclaimed, Leslee felt her obvious ignorance become even more apparent. As if one book and some cookies and hot chocolate could titivate a dead relationship and 15 years of lost time.

Leslee drew the olive branch back toward her chest, while simultaneously retracting her scathed hopes for an actual relationship with her daughter. She sighed heavily, knowing her nervousness was as apparent as her daughter’s unwillingness to talk.

“You look good, Aimee,” Leslee offered. “I can tell Sarah has been–”

“Don’t mention her name.”

Aimee’s quiet anger was boiling over. The wind no longer felt cold.

“You’re not good enough to even mention her name.”

Leslee felt shocked. Her daughter had become defiant, resentful. What had she expected?

She had abandoned Aimee 15 years ago, had left her crying in the floor of one of the many dilapidated buildings they’d lived in back then, slurring some stunted apology in the midst of one of her binges. Now she would pay for her mistakes.

“Why’d do you come here today,”Leslee asked.

Aimee gave a dry laugh.

“I had the same question for you. You left me. I begged you not to go, but you did anyway.”

Aimee turned to leave and began the walk to the library. She stopped and turned around.

“For me, you died a long time ago,” she said to Leslee. “I don’t need you back now. Aunt Sarah is my mother and I only showed up today so you’d stop calling her.”

Leslee watched the young woman who used to be her daughter walk away, wondering if this was how Aimee felt the last time she saw her walk away.



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