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Melodies resonate in the living room of our comfortable home. Tones, that are strung together in harmony with love. Brooke’s fingers find the notes of a piece older than the farm house that my father with his loving hands has restored, giving us girls a place to grow, eat, sleep and feel our parents love. Like that love Brookelyn wrinkles her brow as small fingers fly across frets and the eight taunt strings of what was once grandfathers mandolin. In fascination I hear the familiarity of Robert Johnson’s work. Sure I too have learned to play the instrument, bluegrass and traditional songs. What has me memorized is my little sister taking the blues piece we both love and playing it first on her guitar, then on grandpa’s mandolin.

Keeping thoughts to myself, just being in the moment absorbing the sound, my eyes close. To astonishment my eyes snap open as Brooke suddenly swings the song into a jazz number I think I recognize but can’t name. Noticing my reaction, she smiles for less than a second before her eyes return to the instrument in her hands. Mom is now standing in the entryway smiling at her youngest who plays on. In her hands is a plate, the kind loving mothers present to those they most care about. On it’s surface is a nutritious mixture of sliced apples, with the less healthy but rewarding drizzle of honey across them. The plate being placed on small table beside the sofa I’m seated on brings the music to a halt.

Apples being one of Brooke’s favorite treats, I wait until she selects the first one. As the refreshing crisp fruit cools my mouth, Brookelyn’s hand gently grazes my cheek, while mom returns to the kitchen. Though unsuspected, the touch does not startle me, it’s simply normal. With the gentle touch Brooke has told me she loves me, thanked me for letting her chose the perfect bite of snack before selecting my own. A cool breeze can be felt through the window with it bringing in natures fresh scents, as we crunch the apple sliced in equals so it can be shared. Finishing my bite, I ask Brooke what the jazz song that she infused with Johnson’s piece is. Scrunching her nose she grabs a tablet from the floor and writes her response. Looking at the words, “nothing, I just made it up” I’m not really surprised but am impressed.

After a discussion of when she began writing melodies so advanced, I realize while away at college, it hasn’t been me that’s growing and finding education. Brooke explains that with me away, the music helps to ease those moments that she feels alone. There really is nothing I can do about this, college is important, plus I need the experience, friends and freedom. Yet, I feel the pangs of guilt for her being alone. By thinking of her almost nonstop, wondering what her thoughts would be, missing her laying on the floor drawing for hours on end, seeing the glow of light from the corner desk where she ties flies, have I once thought what it is like for her? Truthfully, I haven’t, me missing the soft notes on a guitar and all the rest was about me. For the first time, today home for the summer, I am aware that Brooke still needs me.

-Brooke’s Sister

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