Boy stared at the photographs of the two women. One was a woman with nobility in everything he saw in the painting. The other was a peasant woman, the colors bright that she wore. They were his aunts. And they had been at war with one another.
Aunt Gwen was the noble one. Aunt Pan was the peasant one. Each wanted to offer him a life. Since his parents were dead, they went after each other like two generals fighting a war, planning their strategies.
Aunt Gwen brought in the troops by the hundreds, marching in battle formation. Her generals were veterans of the battlefields that were the courts. They knew all the ifs, ands, and buts, all the wherefores and whatevers. They brought in the tanks of the injunctions and the bombs that were the subpoenas.
Aunt Pan was a guerilla fighter, fighting on her home turf. She knew just how much she could get away with in the courts. She had only one lawyer but he was a good one. And he devoted his total attention to the war she fought. He was her son. And he became a lawyer for just this one thing. To win Boy’s custody.
The judge saw the women and realized there would be no end to this which would satisfy both women. He needed a solution that was best for the boy.
After a long, sleepless weekend, he finally saw his way through the haze. He walked into the court, rapped his gavel against the bench and ordered the two women to come forward. Not their lawyers but the two women.
“Ladies,” he said, as he glared down at the two aunts. “There is only one solution to this dilemma. This is my order. You will sell your two homes and buy a third. Then you will move into the new home. Once you have done this, you will receive the boy. Until you do this, the boy will be in my custody.”
Gwen had a well-I-never look on her face. Pan frowned.
“And you will live in that house with the boy until he turns eighteen. You can never take the boy to another country without the court’s permission. Anytime you wish to travel, you must travel together as a family. You will end this war or I will end it for you. Now, shake hands.”
He pounded the gavel on the bench. “It is so ordered.” Then Judge Solomon left his bench and went to his back office. There he called for the boy and took him home with him. Since he and his wife had no children of their own, they took much care of Boy. And they waited.
For two months, Aunt Gwen and Aunt Pan held their truce. They consulted with each other over the house they wanted. They found one. As they began the process to buy, they argued over who would sleep where and what furniture they would have and just about everything else.
They consulted their lawyers. The lawyers said the same thing. “Until you do this thing, the judge will not release the child to you. We have searched our law books and we have consulted about appeals. Nothing else will work. The judge giveth, the judge taketh away.”
So once a month the two women saw the boy. One could not see him without the other present.
So now Boy was eighteen. He was readying himself for college. And he was studying the two women on the wall of the judge’s hallway.
They were dead now. One night they had become so angry they crashed their cars into one another. Both were killed instantly.
Judge Solomon walked behind Boy, put both his hands on the Boy’s shoulders, and said, “Never forget these two women. They loved you so much they gave their lives for that love. In their own, strange ways. They were amazons and they fought fiercely for you. Would that they had laid down their war and declared a peace.”