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.