Under a plum tree, An old 44-gallon drum sits at the bottom of our yard. As kids, my twin sister Nicole Guy and I picked plumbs in season. Alternating who held the bucket and who climbed the ladder. We giggled our way to a plumb overflow.
The drum sat on its side, supported by bricks. Dad had put a brass tap at the bottom and filled the drum with water. After our buckets would hold no more, we reached down, turned on the tap and shared splashing the water on our faces. Washed each other a fresh plumb and ate them before helping each other carry our buckets back up the hill.
Before turning 18, Nicole decided to move away to pursue her dancing. The day before she left we went and sat on the old drum. Barely a word was said before we both burst into tears. I loved her and she loved me. 17 years spent together, and it was time to part.
She first went to Sydney, then to England. I’d love to say I rang her every week over the past 11 years. We did keep in touch a bit early on. But, in the last 5 years, I would have spoken to her no more than 10 times. Twice a year for my twin??
She puts it nicely, saying that it’s good to just always know there is someone there who loves you, even if we don’t talk. But, the truth is, life gets messy and busy and I don’t make time for her. What a disgrace that it takes a shared birthday to get me in touch.
The day has passed for me but for Nicole in England, our birthday still has precious few hours.
Nicole – I hope you enjoy them and remember that there is a drum waiting for us at the bottom of our yard. It is rusty and holds no water, the plumb tree behind it has not had fruit in years. But it is still there, holding out for us. Maybe we can even share another cry.