pearls around the neck 121
with cookies. You pick one with green sparkles and give it to me. Here. But I am not hungry. A cup of
tea, yes, and you go fire up the kettle.
While you go to bring the two cups, you ask me if I am knitting something. You know that when I
am distressed I knit; sisters know these things. Mother taught me when I was young and grandmother
made sure I continued knitting. Knitting calms me, it makes me concentrate on something very simple.
Without noticing, I am out of yarn, and time goes by. Yes, I am knitting a pink vest for Juana and a
purple scarf for you. The vest is so small that I finished it right away; I just have to put it together.
I look at the scarf: I know I am going to end up keeping it for myself. I feel like a fool that speaks to and
knits for a sister that is invisible. Whenever grandmother would lose something, for example her watch,
she would say: “And to think it is probably sitting around there just laughing”. I think the same: you
are there, somewhere, without knowing where.
Sometimes I feel guilty, because I get tired of searching. Besides having taken my family away from
me, they gave me the lifelong task of finding you. Before, in high school or at the faculty, when
grandmother was still around, I thought you would show up at any given moment. That someone
would call me to tell me that a girl had gone for DNA testing and that it was positive. You had found
us. In those days, I recall, I thought of how to wallpaper the city with my face, so that you would be
able to see it and you could see yourself in my picture. It did not even occur to me that you could be in
another city, another province. That you could have gone to live in another country or even the idea
that we did not look alike.
At some point, in some part of your body will you feel a pinch, a poke? Like what they say about twins,
if one of them is sad the other can feel the sadness from far away. Does this apply to sisters that are not
twins and do not know each other, that never saw each other?
Because if this is true, I think it is time sister, my dearest Amalia, that this should happen. You should
be feeling the poke by now, you should be running this way without even knowing why. Like in a
video clip, you show up at my front door and walk in with your colorful necklaces.
It is then that I can stop writing you this letter and fill you with kisses.
Author: Lucia Marroquin, Argentina, 2012
English translation: Cynthia Jaramilo and Susan Surrat
Illustration: Tim Gallo
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