Update: I have 5 days left of the challenge and just reached a little under 42,000 words. I am so blown away that I have that much to say about anything. I want to thank my husband for being so wonderfully supportive - and providing many ideas for my story. Almost...done!
Uncle Lenny was not actually a relative, but an honorary title given to one of my mom’s closest friends. When I was too young to understand about such things as homosexuality, I was insanely jealous of his relationship with my mom. What I hadn't realized is that he was one of the few people who she could count on. He was good to us - better than most of our real family was.
Once our car broke down in the middle of nowhere on the way back from visiting relatives. She had it towed to a mechanic who spent the better part of two days working on the car while we stayed at a hotel overnight. By the time the car was drivable, the cost in repairs was three times what my mom could afford.
She ended up signing the title over to the mechanic and they called it a wash for what was owed, and my mom sat down and cried. We had no money and no car - and were stranded about 7 hours from home. She called the only person that she could think of to help: Uncle Lenny. He drove 4 hours to come and get us, and another 7 hours to take us back home.
Lenny lived in San Francisco, and had a gorgeous southern drawl – although I forget where he was from originally. I adored him because he frequently cussed. He always treated me like an adult and never talked down to me - but I was afraid when we visited his house. My memories of his neighborhood were that it was grey and nondescript - so if I was walking around, I might easily get lost. The inside of his home was beautiful with fancy rugs and leather chairs and exotic tapestries.
Lenny took to calling me The Starving Virgin, because I was always hungry and, well…the other part is obvious. All kinds of hilarity would ensue every time he addressed me as such. He contracted HIV/AIDS when it was an epidemic in the 80’s. It was before there were medicines to help those afflicted avoid many of the fatal illnesses common to the disease. Lenny was a very large man, both in height as well as girth, and the disease ate him alive. It was a terrible way to die.