Five Years Old: 1974, New York City, NY

Lying in the unfamiliar hospital bed feels strange and sad. My hernia was operated on just hours before; was born with it they say but it lay undetected for a few years. It was the first time ever spending a night without my beloved twin brother Matthew. Though now I was missing him and feeling lonely, it was he who was usually the needy one. In fact, I worried that though he was at home, he would not be okay without me. We slept in a red wooden bunk bed. I in the top bunk because that bed made him nervous. He liked me to flip my head over so he could play with my hair as he fell asleep. We talked and laughed for at least a half hour each night. My mother hadn’t wanted us to share a room because, “You are a girl and he is a boy!” We looked at her blankly when listening to that argument. We watched her set up a pretty room with small pink tulip wallpaper and a white bed. We followed down the hall as she set up a handsome room with red and cream ticking wallpaper and a red wooden bunk bed. We endured the bedtime routine in our respective pretty and handsome rooms and then when I heard her heels clicking on the foyer hardwood floors, I hopped out of bed and raced down the hall to climb the ladder of his bunk bed. This night in the hospital room was more than just a night away from home. I picked up the phone after my mother had gone downstairs to retrieve some coffee. When she returned I was fast asleep, the phone receiver warm and snug in the crook of my neck. She picked it up to find Matthew; his voice my passage to sleep.