Tom and Petra had a night nanny who held the twins tucked under her arms, like footballs.
In grade school, I tried to figure out how women got pregnant.
I told Petra my theory one afternoon, when we had ventured upstairs to our parent’s room. We weren’t allowed there, but went occasionally anyway. I liked to bring a book because it was sunny and warm in winter, and light bounced off the yellow walls.
“I think that when the man puts the ring on the woman’s finger, there are chemicals in the ring that go into her body, and signify that she’s married, and then she becomes pregnant. But . . . some couples are married and they don’t have children . . . ”
“Emmie,” Petra said impatiently, “Dad put his penis into Mom’s vagina, and that’s how babies are made.”She turned her back and headed downstairs.
Petra arrived home, pissed off. Ballet rehearsals often upset her.
I hopped into the shower when I heard the garage door closing and Petra snapping at Mom, so that I could shower first.
When I came out of the bathroom, Petra was stretched out on her lavender carpet, glowering at me.
“How come you don't shower before I get back?" she said furiously. "Why do you wait until after I come home? You take forever!”
“Sorry,” I said. She was right. But I felt nice and clean.
“Why do you have to eat off of such stupid little plates?” Petra barked at me.
“It defeats the purpose of a small plate if you keep filling up the plate!” Claire added.
Sisters like to point things out.