Memories of my Sister

I was baking flatbreads on the hearthstone when I saw my sister walk out of the forest.

I paused, disbelieving. She had left us, many years ago, to become a hermit. She had abandoned both my husband Nayen and me, and we had never heard from her afterwards. We had thought her safely ensconced within the forest, weathering monsoon after monsoon in some crude hut, serenely meditating on the gods of the Triad. And now she was walking towards me, as if she still belonged in my house.

She had changed. Her hair was white, her face gaunt and pinched, as if she had not eaten for moons. She wore rough, blackened clothes of bark, nothing like the red cotton sari she had put on before entering the forest.

I had half-risen, my hands still covered in spiced dough; she saw me. “Isalaya?” she asked, and swayed.

“Menmathe,” I said, and was there to catch her as she fell.

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