I don’t have a sister, though sometimes, in my childhood, I got a taste of what that might be like because we lived among extended families. The line between a cousin and a sister quickly blurred.
But I longed for the sister I never had.
Like Elizabeth and Jane Bennett in “Pride & Prejudice.” Or even the dysfunctional variety in “Rachel Getting Married.”
I wanted to share clothes and the heart’s innermost secrets. Wanted to whisper into the night until we both fell asleep. Wanted someone to be there. Always.
So when Deirdre came to visit Eileen, I went to see the Drennen girls. Of course, I enjoy spending time with them — I have known Ei for almost three decades and first met Deirdre in the mid-1980s when she came to visit Ei in Tallahassee. I gave her one of my salwar kameez suits. It looked grand on her, I thought. She was so thin and tall and pretty.
Eileen has four sisters. I have always been jealous of that. But she gels perfectly with Deirdre. Unmistakably sisters. One comforts the other — always has, in times of divorce, illness and the darker things in life that take us down.
We sat around the living room table and talked. And talked. For a few moments, I pretended. Sisters, we were.
And at 10:30 at night, when the Drennen girls realized their bellies were empty and the groceries were still intact, we piled into the kitchen to fix a fattening concoction of macaroni with Swiss chard, cheese and more cheese.