My sibling, my sister, is eleven years older than I am. Ever since my mother passed away in 2005, she has clucked around me with the attitude of a mother who is somehow constantly worried about the decisions her errant child might make.
She spent the day with me yesterday and proceeded to pluck each and every one of the feathers I'd glued to my crown. "This master bathroom," she said, noting that the handle of our shower faucet was broken. "It needs redoing. In any case, the tiles are too black."
Then she poked at the carpet in the family room. "Needs to go," she said flatly, panning the room with her eyes. "It's so very old. You've had it since your Almaden home."
Last night she slept on the brand new bed in my son's room. "You know, you actually needed a double or a queen bed here," she said. "Why would you buy yet another twin in place of the old one?" Her eyes travelled to the pendants dropping from the ceiling. "Also, why does your son need a desk? He's almost done with college."
Last night I made her a fruit chaat. "You mean you made the chaat masala? Yourself? Where did you learn to make that?" Then she wondered aloud about what she would eat the following morning. "Now what am I going to get for breakfast? The same thing?" she asked, taking the fruit plate, now all polished off, to the sink.
Back in the family room she wanted to know where I got the new bookshelf. She had never seen it before in my home, apparently. "Oh yes, you have," I said, reminding her about an old white shelf over on the other side of the house. "I painted that green."
Now my sister waddled over to the new green shelf. She touched the top. Then she ran her hands along its back. She touched the award-winning book by Jeet Thayil on the first shelf. She let out a cheep. "You really painted that? Not bad!" She turned around and smiled at me. "Not bad at all. Wow."
In a most invisible way, in the way no one can see but those of us who believe in things like Platform 9 3/4, I dipped a bent fallen feather in E-6000 and fixed it back in my slightly dented crown.