It had been so long since onezero had seen her sister. When her ghost showed up late one night, she raced out to the long line of tombstones to gave her a big hug.
“Tam!” she shouted. “You’re here!”
“In spirit!” Tam joked. “So fill me in. How are you? How’s Aunt Shug? How are the kids? Don’t tell me about Nathanael–I plan on surprising him myself, so he can catch me up on him!”
“Everybody’s great!” onezero said. “Your daughter finally became a best-selling author.”
“She did?” Tamarind asked. “What was her final best seller?”
“You Know You’re the Greatest When You Come From a Long Line of Great. Just another confidence book for legacy kids!”
“So what’s her next aspiration?” Tamarind asked.
“One guess! Soulmate!” onezero laughed. “She’s been so reluctant to meet anybody to settle down with. Maybe a little aspirational assistance will help!”
“How’s her selection on suitors?” Tam asked. “Not every girl wants to settle down with a park boy, like I did!”
“Oh, no worries there! She’s got a very wide selection! The other day, she had a whole string of gentleman callers dropping by.”
“And I bet she wasn’t into any of them!” Tamarind said.
“How did you know? She’s more interested in playing the piano than talking to the boys. She leaves me and Sugar to entertain them.”
“They’re interested in her, though,” onezero continued. “Every single one of them.”
“I bet they are,” said Tam.
“And what about the park boys? Is Clarence still coming around?”
“Oh, yes,” said onezero. “Why, he was the first one she invited over once she selected her new aspiration!”
“And thumbs down.”
“She’ll come around!” Tam said. “And if not, there’s always Alder! How’s my boy doing?”
“He’s an insult wrapped in an argument!” onezero laughed. “And I love him more than ever! Nobody else does, though. Or rather, he doesn’t love anybody else in return. He’s thinking of moving across the street into Manzanita’s mansion, since he and his dad aren’t getting along anymore.”
“Poor Nathanael!” said Tam. “Nobody really understood him the way I do. He’s a good soul, onez.”
“He’s ok,” replied onezero. “He doesn’t take it personally.”
“Has Alder met anyone special?”
“He’s met a mailman. Well, a lady mailman!”
“She’s adorable. You’d love her, Tam. She’s a goofball!”
“And she has a name like a flower! Liliana! But don’t get your hopes up. She beat him at a game of chess, and he hasn’t even wanted to say hello to her since!”
“Oh, well! Not everyone can find somebody as patient as Nathanael. He knew not to win when we played chess! It takes the right person to handle somebody with the mean trait, right?”
“You were lucky, sis!”
“So what else is new? What’s up with you and Sugar?”
“Up is up with me and Sugar!” onezero replied. “We were both abducted! First me, then the next night her!”
“Was it like a reunion for you?”
“It was!” said onez. “There’s the fog, of course, when I return that makes it hard to remember all that transpired. And while I’m there, the resonance of the voices of the 1,000 is more like a thrumming than anything I can translate into words. It’s that data–pure data communication! So when I returned, I was unable to recall the words that were spoken, but all the information was there.”
“And what was the information, little sister?”
“Love. Pure love.”
“I wish you could have seen Aunt Sugar when they light-beamed her up!”
“Was she scared?”
“Are you kidding? When has our aunt Sugar ever met anything with less than total curiosity and bravery?”
“I looked up and all I saw were her two sneakers heading into the light-opening!”
“And then, when she came back, it was just like she was stepping off of a stage! That much presence! That much grace!”
“And what did she say?” Tamarind asked.
“One guess! She just laughed and said, ‘Oh, gnarla!'”
“How’s it with you, Tam?” onezero asked. “We don’t see you often.”
“It’s different!” Tamarind replied. “Time is different, and all I need to do is think something, and there it is! Or I think of a place, and there I am! It makes me realize that what you always were talking about, with the power of the mind, it was all true!”
“Aw,” said onezero. “It’s nice of you to say so! But I never really knew what I was talking about! I knew what was true on my world, but I didn’t have a clue about here! I still don’t, unless we’re just talking about these two acres we live on!”
“Well,” replied Tam, “what more does anybody need to know about than the two acres they live on? What else do we need to know, besides home?”
And with that, Tam spun around and dove into the spare rocket engine parts lying on the ground, before haunting Nathanael to see if he still remembered what it was that had drawn the two of them together so many years before. Of course he will remember. Tam is the love of his life.
onezero let Tam’s words sink into her.
It was funny to live in a world where words carried data. She didn’t need her space suit to process the information carried in the words spoken by her sister.
For it was her heart that let her know that here, indeed, on Cradle Rock, was her home.