I was about eight years old and my younger sister around three when we were frozen in time on an old wooden bench on a cool summer’s day in 1972.
Undoubtedly we had just been running up and down the silvery planks of the boardwalk just moments before this photo was taken. Mom or Dad must have called our names, “Kathy, Lynda, . . ., look this way and smile,” so we did.
We may have taken the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for the day; my mother was a superb vacation planner, and without a doubt figured this excursion into our week long vacation on Cape Cod.
That’s me in the forefront, sister behind sporting a work in progress; vanilla soft serve or ‘creamy’ as we called it. A smear of ice cream dots her chin; she is obviously in need of a little assistance and I appear at the ready with napkin in hand.
The photo only shows variations of black and white and gray. You can’t tell that my hair is brown and hers a dirty blond. You can’t tell that our deep blue eyes are sparkling. You can’t tell if it’s sunny with a few white clouds dotting the sky, or if it’s cloudy with not a ray of sun in sight. It looks cool though; a perfect day to don our windbreakers and leave the rolling dunes and bike paths of Provincetown behind.
I can see a seagull gliding through the air behind us; probably one of many looking for dropped tidbits of food – perhaps waiting for ice cream.
When I look at the photo now, I don’t recall that day. It’s like I wasn’t there and yet, the proof is in the photo. We are both there, sitting side by side, connected at the hip so to speak.
I can appreciate our youth and the simplicity of the moment. I can appreciate my parents taking the time to see us; to see the worth of that moment – catching it in a photo that would withstand time, at least for a while.
When I look at that photo I see the two of us smiling for the camera, and yet I believe that we weren’t just smiling because we responded to a call. I think we were truly happy to be there, sitting together, eating ice cream and watching the birds fly overheard.
It sounds like us.
We had so many great times together as we walked through the years of our childhood; playing board games and cards, swimming in the lake and teetering back and forth on a giant black truck tire inner tube, and making tents out of the dining room table and chairs with a mismatch of blankets, to name a few. And then, . . . we grew up.
It still sounds like us though, to be close, even if thousands of miles separate us. I know deep within me that there will always be a mysterious space beside me that only she can fill. A space where smiles and laughter abound, where memories are shared, and new adventures are lying in wait. A space where a conversation, whether light or heavy is waiting to be had. A space where she sits beside me, rests her head on my shoulder, and I comfort her – at the ready with tissue in hand.
Sisterly love is uncanny and mysterious. My lil’ sis will always be a part of me; we are knit together by years of memory making, by respect and admiration, and by a love that knows no bounds.