'We are buried in rain,' she says. 'It's been raining forever. I know it can't rain all the time, but we are drowning in this.'

I have been missing them; it is less painful than I would have expected, and this is what bothers me the most. I haven't spoken to my sister in a week, in two, when she calls I am busy or preoccupied with work and sound it.

How are you, how's the punklin?'
'Ah, her. You know her. She's been sick for a month almost. These rotten colds, the rain. Hannah sits up now.'

Hannah is three, no four, no five months old already. Five months. Just yesterday I was counting her age in weeks, four, six, seven. And just the day after that I was out in L.A. but no, that was Christmas. Ages ago, I thought I marked it down, scratches in the earth, but the rain has been falling and washed it away, and I have forgotten too easily what it was like to have the babies living around the corner. I have forgotten (almost) how tiring two delightful daughters can be, and I miss that fatigue.

'Last night both of them puked. Poor punklin, It's her ears. Joe went in to her room and sat with her till she fell asleep'

They are both sick, apparently, but Hannah is still an infant, and rest food warmth will keep her happy. Her big sister is not the most placid of children, not angry, not wild, just a high energy toddler, and my sister's voice sounds tired.

'I held Hannah and she dropped off right away. I stayed up all night listening to the rain.'

We lose weeks like buttons, like pencils: I cannot picture Hannah crawling, I cannot hear the punklin speaking in full sentences. My sister is tired and I am lonely, and the simplest solution for both of us is across this broad continent. East Coast West Coast Blah. I miss those girls.

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