Aunt Martha and Aunt Elsa never married. Aunt Martha was a unionized employee at a government office that provided her with a subsidized mortgage loan to buy a house and later on, a decent pension check. Aunt Elsa moved in with her sister, my Aunt Martha, after her boyfriend decided to go to work in the United States from where he never returned. Aunt Martha and Aunt Elsa always kept each other company and they used to go everywhere together, hence we ended up treating them as if they were one single person: I am going to buy AuntMarthandAuntElsa´s Christmas present. Who is going to take AuntMarthandAuntElsa to the airport? AuntMarthandAuntElsa are angry at me.


Aunt Elsa´s story about the boyfriend who left her to go to work to the United States was common knowledge; however nobody ever talked about Aunt Martha’s prolonged singleness.  Therefore on one occasion when I went to visit AuntMarthandAuntElsa I asked Aunt Martha why she had not married, while Aunt Elsa was taking a nap. She told me almost in tears that she was about to get married when she was 23 years old to a miner who died a few months before the wedding in an accident, one among those that frequently occur in the coal mines of this region.


Since then, I was left with the impression that every woman who remains unmarried has a tragic story to tell. Aunt Elsa did not marry because her boyfriend went away to live in another country. Aunt Martha did not marry because her fiancé died in some tragic accident. So as the years go by without any tragedy that is able to explain the cause of my own singleness, I realize that I will have no other option but to make up a tragic story worthy of AuntMarthandAuntElsa when my nieces come to enquire why I never married.


© Maria Gomez, 2014

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