Late evening, just before sunset and we are all sitting down together for dinner. The air is so beautiful, clear and balmy, a crescent moon has just appeared, the trees are full of birds. We have ordered our drinks and hearty Franconian beer garden food, spicy sourdough bread, fried chanterelles, potatoe salad with fresh chives and horseradish, smoked beer and local red wine and so on. It has been a pleasant day, not too hot but we can all still feel the sun on our arms and faces. We were very polite all day, careful not to mention any tricky subjects. No accusations, competitions, no nasty remarks about our kids. We even managed to cycle next to each other occasionally.
My sister has been doling out funny anecdotes from our happy childhood for most of the day. Earlier today when we were resting in the shade of yet another beer garden after we had raced each other up and down the vineyards I told my brother that I remembered him to be much smaller and everybody thought that was a great joke.
And now my sister has us in stitches with the story of how she tried to make soft boiled eggs for the first time in her life. Oh, what a funny story, how she watched the eggs boil for ever, testing with a wooden spoon for softness, again and again. We are laughing and I am so very tired. I wish I could leave. For a very brief moment I catch her eyes and I am tempted to ask her to tell us all the whole story. Of that day and the tears and the snow, of how it was already getting dark outside, of my mother who hours and hours ago had locked herself into her bedroom together with our baby brother.
Instead I just look at her and suddenly there she is, my big sister, almost six years old, with her long plaited pigtail coming apart, still in her pyjamas, standing on a kitchen chair by the cooker, her serious face bent over the steaming pot, trying to figure out how to make dinner for us.
And I want to say something so badly, so urgently but of course I can't. None of us can.