Dear companions and travelers on the way,
When I was probably about seven, my older sister Rebecca, who would have been around nine, went with my Dad to work for "Take Your Kid to Work" day. She and Dad left nice and early in the morning, and I was still groggy in bed as I heard the car pull out.
It was a listless, warm afternoon, and I sat pathetically in the backyard observing the bleak and colorless future that would be mine; a life of endless days of lonely backyard play without my best friend and tenant in common. I wandered around the trees in our backyard with my toy horse Black Gypsy, wondering what kind of strange jobs Rebecca would be executing at the Office. She had joined the world of adults now, mature and aged creature that she was, and probably wouldn't even be interested in playing with me any more. I picked a chunk of bark off the tree and found no interest in the ensuing rush of ants. Normally this would be an exciting event, as one could follow the ants as they explored the ravines of the craggy bark, and watch them intersect on invisible highways known only to them, porting as it were bundles of building material. But today, there was nobody to share it with. There was no point in watching them; no pleasure in discovering their hiding places.
That evening Rebecca and Dad returned home in time for dinner; she had Cool Stuff like papers and pens. She seemed totally normal and played with me after dinner with her horse Carmel, who was espoused some years ago to my Black Gypsy. Both of them had four broken legs but seemed to survive and enjoyed a normal, although perhaps somewhat vertically challenged, life. As normal a life as one can have, anyway, with over forty polyethylene children.
The next morning I came downstairs for breakfast. I had heard the car pull away in the misty morning as usual, since the garage opening beneath my bedroom usual stirred me from my sleep.
Imagine my shock when I saw Rebecca sitting at the table, placidly eating her cereal!
"Mom!" I said. "Why isn't Rebecca with Dad!?"
"She was only going for one day," Mom said casually, stirring the pot of oatmeal.
Glory be! This was too good to be true! Who knows why she had to go that one day - but who really cared? Returned were the joyful days of building Viking houses for our horses and their myriad plastic offspring; returned was the thrill of tracking and hunting elusive squirrels with shoestring bows and arrows; again we could follow ants on their adventurous routes through the tree; once more the Everlasting Tower, a figment of our fertile imaginations, would continue to be built, with ever new and perilous rooms to be explored by the intrepid Tarbari and Tabina!
Time trickles down though, and yesterday morning Rebecca left for New Orleans to study music with the great ones there. Our relationship is now not so much one of toy horses and Indian tipis in the backyard, although those are memories that will forever last as a part of our history. Our relationship has matured and evolved, and can now be held over a long distance - to talk about things (gentlemen callers, perhaps), to learn from each other (that's called a glissando? News to me!), and to pray for each other.
Sisters, sisters - there's nothing like 'em in the world! Enjoy your stay in the Big Easy, big sister!
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