I am one of six. Sisters. Nine years, two months between oldest and youngest. I am one of the six, fourth from the top, third from the bottom, oldest of the youngest— that’s how we describe things. We live two in Cleveland one in Cincinnati, one in Atlanta, one in Arlington, Virginia, and one west of the Mississippi. We’re orphans, our parents dead twenty-eight and thirty-seven summers. Every year we congregate in our home town after Christmas. We spend an afternoon without children, spouses banned, just a few bottles of wine and everybody’s best baking. We laugh, we tease, we story tell, we recollect our mutual past, the same, but mostly different in the ego- centric plot of memory. We never speak of pay raises, promotions, invitations, kids’ grades, trophies, jackpots, pounds lost, golf handicaps—anything that might suggest a betterness. We laugh, we tease, we downplay and self deprecate. But last year, someone dared to ask whom our parents treasured most. All agree our mother had no favorites and all agree our father did. Six names mentioned. After much animated con- versation, the consensus was still too far away to be discerned. We would not agree. So now it seems that we are guaranteed to never know who won.
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