Sharon and I have always been close sisters, but there was a whole lot of yelling, screaming, door slamming, scratching and hitting in the early years before we got to be the best of friends. Honestly, when we were growing up, Sharon and I couldn’t stand each other half the time, and we’ve got the scars, emotional and physical, to prove it. Nonetheless, we slept in the same room (even though we each had our own) until we were 10 and 12. We were always so different, oil and water, but we were perpetually in each other’s pockets.
I don’t know exactly when that change took place, but when I left for college, I think we realized how much we missed each other and decided to give the bickering and tattling a rest. Then in 2003 I moved to England and was gone for nearly seven years, returning only for holidays or quick vacations. This was hard for two sisters, but we stayed in touch with the wonders of e-mail, Facebook, Skype, Vonage and webcams. But of course, there’s no substitute for hanging out.
Now that I am back in the States, Sharon and I are getting together as often as possible. And trust me, if you knew Sharon, you’d want to see her as often as possible too. She makes me laugh harder than anyone—ever. Belly laugh until your sides hurt kind of funny. And she’s also honest. Whenever I don’t know where I’m going in my life (like now), Sharon can lay it to me straight, like no one else. I trust her opinion more than I trust my own. She’s the kind of friend you want to have: hilarious and fun, but a good listener who honestly wants to give you the best advice possible. She’s always been wise beyond her years.
So this weekend Sharon came to NYC to visit me for a couple days, a trip originally planned around other events, but we were overjoyed as those other events were either cancelled or postponed, giving us a couple days to ourselves. One of our favorite things to do is what we call “coffee walks.” It’s just what it sounds like, long early-morning walks, with coffee in hand. So we did that a lot, walking through Central Park and talking, laughing over inside jokes, creating new inside jokes, talking about serious life issues—where we’re headed, what we’re doing, what we want from life. It was just what we both needed.
Of course the other thing we love doing together is cooking. So it was off to Union Square Farmer’s Market to check out the goods and see what we could make for dinner. So many things attracted us, but we couldn’t seem to put together anything that made sense. We picked up yellow squash, some gorgeous tomatoes, a pint of cherries and a loaf of rustic Italian bread . . . . Well, when in doubt make a toasted sandwich. So we stopped by the market on the way home and purchased a few extra ingredients to make this beautiful thing, which we served with sautéed squash (a la my grandmother’s recipe) and had cherries for dessert. All served with a lovely bottle of red. How we ever got from rabidly fighting over a pair of jeans to this kind of civility, I’ll never know. But that food, plus my sister (and the 20/20 special on Michael Jackson) amounted to an evening of perfection.