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Ladies night has a big surprise.
I couldn't choose what to leave, and what to take away. I went back to Robert. 'I'm sorry,' I said, 'but I can't do it. These things, my things, they're all memories. I don't know what to do.'
'I've got an idea,' said Robert. 'I'll take photos from every corner and angle of your room. Then I'll turn it into a 3D image. So you can always go back to it any time you want on your computer. How about that?'
'Would you do that for me?' I asked, and hope must have sounded in my voice. I had felt like drowning, but Robert had appeared with a lifebuoy. A proper knight in shining... wetsuit.
He grinned at me. 'Anything for my big sister.'
In the end, Robert helped me put my things away. The most important, such as the Kinder toys and Mr Bear, had obviously remained. And I decided to focus on the positive memories. There was no point to wallowing in self-pity, or being stuck in the past. There had been plenty of happy moments as well, most of them with Robert. Either way, my old life was gone, and a new one was just beginning.
Robert was extremely considerate, which must have been a momentous effort for him. He let me choose from his room that would go into my room -no, our room- and where they would be placed. I chose, and placed, and moved, and moved again, until I had found a balance that felt just right.
It was difficult to explain. Without things in their proper place, it just felt wrong. Like you walk outside and you notice that the sky is green instead of blue. I was doing my own version of feng shui.
'It's ready,' I announced. 'It's exactly how it should be.' It made me feel better, more secure, like I actually had some sort of control over my life, which seemed like it was rapidly spinning out of control.
Robert, who was standing next to me, put his arm around my shoulder and kissed me on the cheek. It was a gentle, brotherly kind of kiss. I lifted my hand, and touched his, the one that was on my shoulder. He was still my brother. But he had become so much more than that, in a way people would only whisper about behind your back. I didn't care. Actually, that wasn't true: I cared a great deal. But I wouldn't let the taboo change anything.
It occurred to me that I hadn't bothered to ask Robert what he thought of it. It had to be our room now; we both should feel comfortable there.
'Are you... do you like it?' I asked.
'Love it, sis. It's perfect.'
Perfect. That would have to do for now.
While I finished up some final small things, Robert had returned to his old room, playing with his synthesisers. Our parents had insisted that we take music lessons, and for once fortune had gifted us with something, which was musical talent. I had a quite good soprano voice, while Robert was a tenor. He was also pretty good at playing the keys.
It made for interesting combinations. We could sing Au fond du temple saint from the Pearl Fishers, but an octave higher. We even did the Flower Duet from Lakm__, and pretended that Lakm__ went out to pick flowers with her brother rather than her servant. After the events of yesterday and this morning, though, I wondered if Lakm__ would get a good rodgering by her brother every now and again. Probably not, but then again, you never know.
Today, Robert was playing the silver synthesiser. He has a black one, a blue one, a red one and a silver one. He had also patiently explained -more than once- their names and the differences between them. It was useless. To me, they were black, blue, red and silver, but I let him explain every time, because I knew it made him happy.
He was browsing absentmindedly through the sounds, until he reached an organ sound. And he started playing the unmistakable notes of 'Je t'aime... moi non plus'.
Ah, Serge Gainsbourg.