Miranda climbed the stairs to the kitchen, and when she saw a plastic-wrapped package of ramen on the counter and water just coming to boil on the stove, knew her sister was home.
Sure enough, Meredith came down from her bedroom wearing comfortable sweats and glasses pushed up on her head.
“Hey, Kiddo,” she said, embracing her sister.
“Well, you seem . . . different. Like you let a lot of wind blow through your hair and air out your brain.”
Miranda laughed. “That about covers it!” She paused. “Are you okay?”
“Yup!” Meredith said, a little too forcefully. “Want soup?”
The siblings got out placemats and chopsticks, then settled at their wide kitchen island.
“So,” Meredith said, blowing across the steaming noodles she held aloft over her bowl. “Tell me everything.”
“There’s so much, Mer,” Miranda said. “New opportunities. New perspectives. New . . . just new.”
Meredith put down her chopsticks, chewed on a crisp sesame cracker, and stared at her sister. “Oh my God,” she said a moment later. “You’re leaving.”
Miranda smiled. “I am.” After a pause, she continued. “It’ll be better, right? I mean, you need your space, so do I. You can get another roommate. Or, maybe you don’t even need to, you’re doing so well at work. I mean, neither of us has had roommates since college and we’re both a little past it, right?”
“Okay, confess,” Meredith demanded. “Did you fall in love?”
Miranda laughed again. “Yes. With a town.”
“What? You’re not just moving, you’re leaving the city?”
Miranda paused. “I’ve loved being here with you.”
“Most of the time,” Miranda amended. “I’ve loved our house, my Co-op gallery spot, lots of favorite places. It’s taught me a lot. And . . . I needed this step, needed to be close to you and within striking distance of our folks.”
“Did you miss them that much when you were in Vermont?”
“I think I was too busy as a Bennington student to miss anyone much, except on those l-o-n-g winter nights.” Miranda shivered at the memory of fifty-below windchill and howling winds, hardly something any California girl took in stride.
“Bennington was perfect for me,” Miranda continued. “The whole mental atmosphere of artistic exploration, personal-best challenges, finding your own voice . . . just what I needed. And we did have work-terms, giving us some real world internships. But being there was also living a sheltered, nurtured life of privilege. So hurling myself into the art world of a major city like SF was daunting. Being close to Mother and Dad and to you also gave me the certainty that people who cared were near.” She looked into her sister’s eyes. “You made this huge, intimidating city feel safe, and as comfortable as I can be in a city.”
“Oh, Mandy,” Meredith said, reaching across the counter to touch her hand.
“And now . . . I’m connecting with my own . . . I don’t know if roots is really the right word. But my soul sings by the water and the mountains, where the color is green, and sometimes yellow.”
“You painted that, didn’t you, before you went on your trip?”
“I did. It felt like a sign.”
“So, okay, forgive me for being practical for a moment, but did you get a job? Do you have enough money for the move? Did you find a place to live?”
Miranda took a breath. “I did get a good commission, enough to get me launched.”
“And I can stay in someone’s guest house for a month while I look for my own place. It’s all going to work out,” Miranda assured her sister.
Meredith smiled. “Sounds like you’re the one who’s already worked it out.” After a pause, she asked, “Told Mother and Dad yet?”
“No. Mother will be concerned, I know. Dad won’t mind.”
“And that artist’s rep you have?”
“Zelda will have a cow.”
The two sat in their kitchen laughing until Miranda realized she was also crying.
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