Violetta’s family had a long history. Yes, they were immigrants. Yes, they were Italian. Yes, those two things combined to make the family’s history long, rich, and sacred, passed down from generation to generation. But that was only part of the story.
The rest of the story was that almost everyone in Violetta’s family lived extraordinarily long lives. Her mother’s sisters, the aunts, were especially famous for it. (Her mother herself, sadly, was not. Violetta marked that sad day on the calendar every year.)
Only one of the aunts was married. Or had been married, rather. She’d been a widow for forty years. With her two sisters, she grew contentedly into old age watching over broods of nieces and nephews and cousins. They kept aging, until it was great-nieces, great-nephews, and second cousins. Violetta watched them grow old and keep going, staying as independent and Italian as always. Auntie Dorothea kept speaking Italian well into her nineties. Anyone who wanted to talk to her received an education bilingually, Italian breaking into English and back again.
One by one, the aunts died. It was mercifully quick for them all- none of them could have stood a nursing home- their hearts just gave out. But, they were old. They had lived long lives. 92, 94, 96 years old at death. Still drinking a nice wine with dinner and doling out family stories like candy. A lot of family history could be collected in ninety years.
Violetta had always assumed she would be in the next generation of aunts. After all, she had always revered the aunts, and she thought she would be so revered. But the family seemed to fracture, like a stained glass window breaking into component parts. Violetta didn’t know how to melt it down and start again. One day, she realized she might not have as much time as it had seemed.