For fifteen years, it was only my first sister and me. Our parents moved often, flying across the ocean, driving us cross country, so Nina and I we were the perpetual new girls, missing what and whom we’d left behind. But we always had each other, and in every house, we slept in twin beds. Nina couldn’t sleep unless I answered her when she told me goodnight.

“Goodnight,” she’d say. “Goodnight,” I’d say. But there’d be one more thing, one more thought – about a clueless boyfriend, a hard teacher, a mean girl, what outfit to wear tomorrow. With each other we felt as secure and successful as billionaires.

“Goodnight,” she’d say. “Goodnight,” I’d say.

“Should I get a pixie cut?” she’d ask. “It’ll grow out,” I’d say.

“Okay. Goodnight,” she’d say.

If I paused to mess with her, she’d plead. “Pia, say goodnight.”

Goodnight, Nina.”

And then silence for a bit, and then, Nina: “Can I borrow your white poet’s blouse?” (It was the 70s. Bellbottoms. Platforms. Love’s Baby soft. Fruity Bonne Bell lip gloss whistles on cords around our necks.)

“Maybe. If you don’t sweat. Now, hush,” I’d say, sleepy. “This is the last goodnight.” Finally, I’d hear her breathing rasp; then so could mine.           

This book is me and my sister back in twin beds; a writer and an artist, me on the right, my sister on the left, or vice versa, in our sixties with aging parents and grown kids and grandchildren, living on opposite sides of the country but sharing a room, with things to say before we sleep.

“Alway Connected” – Nina Z. Temple

(ink on cold pressed 300 lb. water color paper)

22″ x 30″