Brown eyes and wimmins

The synchronised soup kitchen began with the standard post-work debrief. This time it was her with the grievance, a tricky last minute work trip that needed to be worked around our holiday next month. We were both knocking off, a three hour head-start crumbling against my poor time-keeping skills, and we talked about work until we made it back to our respective kitchens and began the night’s preparations. Hers was a hearty stew, able to be made ahead of the arrival of her husband and parents-in-law later that evening, and mine was a jumble of the sad vegetables lurking at the bottom of the crisper. The married and the single, chained together with copper wire.
There’s an episode of the Gilmore Girls that begins with mother and daughter sitting in their respective living rooms while on the phone to each other and watching, in silence, the progress of their robotic vacuum cleaners. My sister and I, more than 4000 kilometres and two time zones apart, have started to do the same thing.
ME: Why the fuck is this not salty? I added like a tablespoon of soy sauce.
HER: It says I need a quarter of a teaspoon of mace. I don’t own mace. Do you think that’ll matter?
ME: Ok, I’ll use the dark soy sauce.
HER: I’m using extra hot cayenne pepper, so I think it’ll be fine without.

I used to come home from school and spend hours on the phone to the friends I’d been with all day. We’d talk just to hang out. Now I communicate for a living but I don’t really talk like that anymore. Except with her.
We didn’t get along when we were younger, which is understandable because I was an insufferable bookish little horse freak and she was a proper teenager with a boyfriend and a job and a desire to stay out late at parties.
Moving out of town meant a pony for me and isolation for her. The sheer unfairness of it ruptured the allegiance fostered through joint moneymaking and Cabbage Patch collecting schemes, and the rift grew with every year that she grew older and I refused to.
I resented her for not realising that she was beautiful and deserved better, and hated her boyfriends for taking advantage of that. I locked myself in the garden shed, one night our parents were away, refusing to come out until the boyfriend left. We fought with the violence, viscousness and consistency of cats.
And then she went to university and we became sisters again, and years later we both found ourselves in Western Australia and, suddenly, became better than best friends. And I know it’s cliche and perfectly ordinary to have fought as kids and befriended now, because every set of siblings I know has done it. But it is so precious, this common thing, that I’m frightened one day something might change and we’ll be just sisters once more.
So I’ll smooth the page and stick the memory down and remember this day, when we spoke for 90 minutes about soup.
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