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My parents had decided to meet her at the port where
her ship was due to arrive and I was allowed to go with them. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation I felt as a child waiting for the ship to arrive. My father, who
was always making fun of Aunt Enid, made some remark to the effect that
she had probably missed the boat and taken the wrong one to another destination that
was probably the other side of the world. We waited and then slowly through the mist we saw the ship whose
right side bore the name "Voyager", which
I thought was very romantic since it aptly described what my aunt had been doing for the last twenty years. I even imagined that the small dot visible on the deck was Aunt Enid waving to us. But my father pointed out that
what I thought was Aunt Enid was in fact one of the anchors.
Eventually the "Voyager" docked and as was to be expected the last person to disembark was my celebrated Aunt. I must admit that she was a bit of an anti-climax because she was small, frail, gray-haired, spoke with a tiny crackling voice, which
sounded like a tiny mouse, and was to all intents and purposes a very ordinary old lady.
It was several weeks before Aunt Enid and I were alone together. In fact it was the afternoon on which
she was preparing to go back to her home abroad. I had not had enough courage to put the question to her, which
I had promised myself I would. In a sudden rush of confidence I burst out: "Why did you go and live abroad all those years ago, Aunt Enid?" She smiled that smile for which
old people are famous, that
combines compassion with wisdom. "I'll tell you on one condition", she replied "and that
is that you don't tell a living soul". I promised. As all the "living souls" to whom
she was referring are now no longer alive, I think it's reasonable to reveal Aunt Enid's secret. Apparently the day on which
she left home for the last time she had taken a train to visit a friend, who
didn't live far away but unfortunately she had fallen asleep, missed the station she wanted and didn't wake up until the train came to the end of the line, which
happened to be the very port where
we had met her some weeks before. She decided there and then that she would not put up with any more of the jokes which
had haunted her all her life and booked a passage on the next ship never finding the courage with which
to explain the reason for her departure. What
you might call a RELATIVELY
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