On the morning after her arrival, Eden stepped into her sister’s yard and took the basket of clean laundry from her arms. “Let me do it,” she said. “Go sit on the porch and rest for a change.”
Minna put her hands on her hips. “You’re telling me to rest, now? You haven’t been home in two years. When you’re away I’m lucky to get a letter from you every three months. Now you’re going to ride in and rescue me?”
But Minna took the clothespins from the pocket of her apron and handed Eden half of them. Minna’s three-year old twins, Edith and Oliver, chased a cat under the porch and five-year old Nate chased his siblings in turn.
Eden and Minna hung the wet clothes together in silence for a long time.
“I’m sorry I haven’t written more,” Eden finally said. “I haven’t heard much from you either.”
“What can I tell you that you don’t already know?” Minna said. “Things here are always the same. But you’ve been all over the world. Don’t think I’m not glad to see you. But I hardly know you are anymore.”
Eden frowned. “Of course you know me, Minna. Who else knows me so well as you?”
“You tell me.”
But Eden was quiet again.
“You might have tried harder. When you left home you promised to write every week. And then you just slipped away and left me here alone.”
“Alone?” Eden said. “You have Mama and Papa—you have Peter. You have everyone…”
“You know what I mean by alone. At least you seem to now. Maybe Sophia was all you needed, but no husband could replace my own twin sister.” She pinned the last piece of laundry to the line and picked up the empty basket. “Do you think I wouldn’t have liked to run to you for comfort sometimes in the past two years?”
“I never thought of that. I thought you didn’t need me anymore.”
“How could you think so?” Minna’s brow wrinkled. “I wrote you when the baby died. You knew—” a catch stopped her voice.
But Minna didn’t look at Eden. She turned and walked back to the house.