Browsing my family photo archive I came across a small photo of my grandmother and her twin brother, taken sometimes in 1922, probably in St Petersburg, USSR. Two babies, sitting on a striped cloth, staring at the camera.
I’ve never known my grandmother's twin. Even though I've known her for the most of my life, there is a part of her, most of her life in fact, which remains unknowable. More so now, when she is gone. Her face, hands and body, histories and events which to me came only from books and movies, unbearably close and inexorably remote. Her graduation from the medical school, the Great Patriotic War, the siege of Leningrad, the birth of my mother.
This striped cloth is a stubborn shred, a ghost of memory, a desire to remember that does not go away. I remember a striped bed linen set and a striped towel from when I was a child, from when she was alive and close. Her life before me knocking on my door.
I wish I could, Sarah, I wish I could remember.