"You look confused," she tells me as she stirs the spoonful of sugar in her tea.
Her eyes don't really meet mine, and I'm glad. She has the knack all big sisters have for looking into you and seeing into your core. And I'd rather not be too much of an open book today, thank you very much.
"Why do you say that?" I ask nonchalantly as my fingers trace a pattern on the tablecloth. There's some sort of stain set in, and I wonder if my mother has seen it yet. I doubt it.
"I don't know, you just do". This time, she does look up at me, holding my eyes even as she dips a digestive biscuit into her cup.
There's something almost therapeutic about the way she dunks the biscuit in twice, taps it on the rim once, then raises it to her lips over a cupped palm. I'm suddenly brought back to years ago, some nondescript morning of the past. Back when all of us still lived at home, and home was a feeling rather than a place. Back when a typical Saturday morning entailed all five of us huddled into my parents' bedroom as Dad read the paper, and Mom worked on her sewing. I'd seize control of the remote during every commercial break of Asian Horizons, and my sisters would gossip to each other about some boy in their class in a code they were convinced the rest of us didn't understand. These were mornings when Mom would chastise Dad for dipping his biscuit in his tea, but still not mind when he'd offer each of us a bite of the soggy mess.
I don't even remember the last time all five of us have been in the same room now.
And it's strange to think that that family of five has grown to a family of ten, and what once was, will never be again.
Without thinking, I reach over to the tin of biscuits left open on the table top, and dip one into my sisters' cup. Just because I can.
She rolls her eyes. "Oh yeah, you're definitely confused. You seem to think this is your cup, not mine. Go get your own." She's saying this with laughter in her voice, but her eyes are serious. Worried. Worried in a way that I, being the youngest sibling, will never quite understand.
What is there really to be confused about?
Besides the fact that the boy that everyone thinks is Mr. Wrong is the only one who makes me feel right, I mean.
Or the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Or even what exactly what I mean when I say "the rest of my life".
And then there's the thing where I don't understand why I'm missing Saturday mornings long gone that I couldn't wait to grow out of back in the day.
But other than all that, I've got it covered. Really, nothing could me more crystal clear, I think.
"Hey, are you? Confused I mean?"
There's a pause. It's almost tangible. I can feel it beat within me, waiting for me to open my mouth.
So I do.
"No." I say.
She doesn't quite believe me. I don't quite believe me, either.
She hands me another biscuit anyway. And this time, she doesn't even mind when I dip it in her cup.