We have had tea together a thousand times in these cane chairs facing her curry leaf tree and windows hung with old silk curtains.
Sia is a good woman with friends and folks who love her; why wouldn’t they, she is not just strikingly entertaining, she is one of the loveliest persons I have ever met. Dark long classic almond eyes in a determined oval shaped face set in wheat gold skin you want to paint! ( I’ve tried painting Sia and will try again; she is a hundred stories and I must wait to capture all their colours, oh she’s generous with comment and has booked a canvas from my battered easel). I was saying though, beneath that nice surface is soft steel, easier to break than I suspected possible.
“I should not insist on being loved by my only sibling, but uhm, who said blood is thicker than anything else? It is a liquid and it can dry up like a forgotten river.”
Sia talks that way between better days, so I’m not all surprised, and yet today the moment simmers like her eyes: they brim with aloneness.
“One should know they are not needed or loved anymore, but I still hang on, I follow my sister, I wait for her to come home, I remember our childhood too much, now…it changes? Because...?”
I have not one nice warm thing to say. Her gold lemon tea with mint leaf waits in white ceramic; I cannot breathe, her hurt has to ebb. It doesn’t.
“..is alright,” she continues as if she heard me. “Let’s have that mint from my herbal pot, hehe!”
Just when I was settling into her sorrow she turns into the rising sun.
“You know, Ray. I do not feel bitter anymore?! They do not want me, that is fine. We fight for those we need to keep. Once that is not there anymore, what is the fight? How is the painting coming up?“
“What painting?!” I ask without thinking and her face blows up in laughter. Without warning, Sia Mayben is a skyful of crackers!
“This is what I love best about you, girl. You are not picking problems, you do not care, you walk in a Light that is not the sun.”
“…and there’s a God and He loves you, loves me. My entire life I hate Him, but He never leaves. Never. Nah….Yem! ” She says that for ‘yes’ occasionally, it’s her unusual upbringing; I will never know where she totally grew up in. She sounds like ghettos sometimes- raw, dismembered, and then she is a fountain of healing.
Today for some reason I’m the cause of her healing? I said / did nothing, but the woman isn’t listening. At 80+ she’s earned that right. She talks about her dead sis like she’s there in the next room, then she turns into the Psalmist.
I promise to finish her painting as soons I get more time between comforting Kitsy our second daughter whose Crayfish ate up her beloved Molly– I didn’t dare tell her ‘I told you so’,
Oh but I did tell her,
that, and our youngest fantastic blind 21 year old declaring hatred for his walking cane-
yes, must paint Sia. She is the color of an earth poised to smile: the blood in her runs deep as a river that never forgets. Did her sister really not love her? I’ll never know – Alzheimer’s is a deadly treasure trove.
Though, it makes Sia all the more a mystery to peer through – at a world aching for rest.
“Blood doesn’t matter …” Is a sentence laced heavy with truth. I know at least 2 adopted human beings whose love is not enarmoured by genetics.
Weaving my way back home between Bipolar auto rickshaws and pre- monsoon showers pelting the sidewalk, I can’t help feeling Sia’s feelings. Yem. There’s more that matters, than just blood.