At the dinner table yesterday, it struck me how grown-up Beta suddenly looks. She’ll be 13 in the summer, and is getting tall and slender, with a woman looking out of her eyes at times, like a ghost of the future. She is beautiful.

She plays harp so well it makes people cry. She got perfect grades in school this semester. And like an anchor holding her down to earth amidst all this perfection, she has her little sister Gamma.

They put on a performance yesterday that sort of gave us an idea how their relationship would be for the next 20 years:

Gamma: “You got a letter from Martin.”
Beta: “So?”
Gamma: “So he loves you.”
Beta: [sneering, to avoid embarassment] “How would you know?”
Gamma: [earnestly, and matter-of-factly] “I know it in my heart.”
Beta: [changing tack] “Then Alexander who you visited yesterday loves you too.”
Gamma: “I know that.”
Beta: [finds something else to do]