Over the jigsaw we leapfrog topics and memories as hurdlers do, with grace and instinct, always looking forward to the comment just ahead. Onomatopoeia. Brains. Polanski. Our children's children. Wyeth. Bhutan. Husbands. Homer. Ratatouille. We wrap ourselves in blankets and hats to buffer the wind that blows through the leaky house. The fire blazes, the coffee's on. The books we brought intending to read or recommend lie scattered on tables and chairs. It's the talking that warms us most.
We had the same father, the same mother. We lived a common childhood from different angles and from varying points of view. Our details do not always match but together, we have learned how to fashion something true.
The reason for our reconnection is to share, to mourn, to celebrate. Our lives, like all others, are complicated, and aging takes its toll. We help each other finish words that tell the stories and express the fears. We laugh and remember. We admire each others' grit and grace. We sort through the letters and the stories of our parents' lives and, in so doing, we build a bond no longer centered on the ones no longer here.
Coming together requires a certain letting go, a release of the quotidian. It enlists a generosity of spirit, a celebration of our differences, a willingness to listen and to learn. It asks us to go deep quickly and come back up as nimbly and as fast. It depends on synching moods and schedules in complicated lives, and, despite all good ingredients and intentions, the magic bond is never guaranteed. None of us, I suspect, were exactly sure how it would work out or if it could be done. It would have been a lovely retreat, regardless, a stolen moment to curl up with a book. But here we are by the fire, just "being," like only sisters can do.