The engine thrumming beneath my feet, the wind tussling my paltry strands of hair, the spray of mist on my face. On the Larkspur Ferry to meet my sister on the occasion of her 70thbirthday. Behind me the skyline of the city I have loved for so long, where we have shared so much of our adult life together. To my right, the span of the bridge we first crossed in a packed Volkswagen bug in 1971, oh, so many years ago.
The ferry plunges forward, parting the waters like a modern Moses. Glides by Alcatraz and then Angel Island, each with their stories of told and untold suffering. One now offers a tourist’s delight, the other criss-crossed paths of hiking bliss. Surrounded on all sides by the bounteous Bay and its light-dazzled waters. All around and above and behind and below is the unfettered feeling of freedom, carrying this man with a bike and a book to lunch with the one person on the planet he has known longer than any other.
I will order the Jacques Pepin eggplant sandwich at the Left Bank Restaurant, she will go with the fondue and we will pass a pleasant hour or so. Undoubtedly, one of us will toast to the memory of my father in this place where we used to ceremonially dine once a month or so and equally remember the lunch with my mother where she flirted so shamelessly (but fun!) with the waiter at 82 years old. We will talk of children and grandchildren and spouses, move on to the distant cousins and aunts and uncles and childhood friends, the long parade of our mutual life.
The now mandatory selfie to mark the moment and then we each turn back—her to the north and me to the south—to our still unfolding lives, our next steps on our shared and separate lives.
Happy birthday, sis!