Melba, the weaver

Family photo

The spider on the door the day my sister was born was an Omen

She would be a weaver

Of words, it turned out.

Three sisters awaited her, ready to mother her

Our mother too joined in the mothering game, sometimes.

Melba became a pampered toddler; mothered by plenty, mothered by none

We would dance around the dinner table or else she wouldn’t eat

One bite of food would unfreeze the dancers

For a few seconds.

I taught her Greek mythology

And she worshiped Zeus, keeping his statute on her night table.

She sat in the auditorium, accompanying me to a lecture on Virginia Woolf

Her legs barely reaching the floor

She listened attentively, was her creative mind setting free?

Did Virginia Woolf actually exist? she asked

She was thirsty for stories, and I for storytelling

We made a good pair

On the streets, we would pretend to know people’s future

The boy standing in line to pay his groceries, I pointed

He will marry young, his wife will die during childbirth

How do you know? she asked only once

She understood the power, she turned into a goddess-narrator.

When she was 13, I told her I was leaving

The second sister to marry off and go live her own life

Could we be blamed?

She was not my daughter, she never was

She is my sister, my writing mentor, my friend, my accomplice

I moved on, to cross the Atlantic, and mother my own children

Melba traveled the world gathering yarn

She settled down to weave authentic characters, inhabit spaces, and lace plots

She knitted the tapestry of her own family

And in an act of optimism, she became a mother herself.

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