I spent weeks sorting through my Aunt's things. She had plenty of books, textbooks, records, paintings, photographs and artifacts for digs sites all around the world. It was at the end of November that I found myself wondering in the backyard again. The maid, who I had come to know as June, was making soup in the kitchen for me. The gardener, Mr. Kress was on vacation. I insisted for June to also go on vacation, but she firmly stated that her rightful place was looking after the manor, even if Jessa was gone.
As I was wondering through the backyard, I found myself staring at the mermaid statue one again. Aunt Jessa's funeral would be held next week, and the memories of her and the mermaid statue haunted me in my dreams. I would have blurry dreams of Aunt Jessa standing in the lily pond, walking over the mermaid statue. She would use two fingers and press them into the mermaid's eyes. The eyes would shift in just a bit and slowly the statue would turn counter-clockwise, and then my dream would end. I contemplated whether-or-not I should go into the pond and test the mermaid's eyes for myself, but I felt foolish, and believing in such a fantastical dream made me feel like a child, so I did not try it out.
Instead, I went inside and had lunch with June. We remained quiet for some time, but to be polite I began to conversate with her.
"I heard my Aunt Jessa died overseas," I said.
June nodded her head. "She was in India, but before she left she was frightfully sick. I warned her not to go, but your Aunt Jessa was stubborn," she said.
I smiled. Yes, my Aunt Jessa was stubborn. She was the tomboy of her family and I admired her for that. She never cared what other's thought of her, and she went after what she wanted. She had no need for marriage or children, because her career was like her child, and she put much work into it.
"Do you know what she was sick with?" I asked.
"No idea," June shook her head.
I thought of the mermaid and wondered if June knew anything about it. "When did Aunt Jessa get that mermaid statue? I don't remember her having it when I visited as a child," I said.
"She got it two years ago. It was gift from one of her colleagues...," June placed her hand on her chin, "I don't remember the occasion, but Jessa was delighted to have it."
I nodded my head. I was beginning to feel bad because I stopped getting to know my Aunt Jessa. I got caught up in my education, my work, and my social life that I completely forgot about my Aunt Jessa. She also added some magic to my life, and I felt guilty for forgetting about her so long.
"June, how long have you worked for my Aunt Jessa?" I asked.
June smiled, "I worked for your grandmother first, and I took care of Jessa, and your mother, Karen. I stayed working for your grandmother until Jessa got her own home, and then Jessa hired me."
"So you've been here the whole time?" my eyes widened.
"Yes," she nodded her head.
"I'm sorry, but I just don't remember seeing you when I was a child," I said.
"Sometime a child's memory is foggy, my dear, but do not worry about," she shrugged.
When we finished lunch I went back to picking through Aunt Jessa's things and came upon a trunk of classic literature books. I sat myself upon a velvet armchair and feel asleep reading one of the books.