A Word about Sisters

From Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton.

I’m listening but I’m also working. The thing with Melissa is that I fully and completely and 100 percent understand and comprehend what she is saying–to its fullest meaning–within the first fifteen seconds. And unfailingly by the end of the third sentence. I’m not saying I’m that smart. I’m saying I get her that well. We Two are One.

But her purpose is not to merely convey to me the story or the information until I have comprehended. Her purpose is to take a long luxurious bath in my ear and to disgorge the entire unedited contents of her brain–with sidebars, cul-de-sacs, dead ends, and repetitions–so that she can examine those contents. She is processing. She long ago abandoned those one-line phone messages and three-sentence notes when we were roommates. When she senses, somehow, that she is running out of time or your patience, she’ll say, okay, a long story short–and then continue on her winding, circuitous, often amusing way for several detailed chapters. And I understand every single word of it, every stop for gas, every detour. I think exactly what she thinks. She says, finally: “I am not going to even try to cook for Soltner.” And I get it. Entirely.


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