Her voice is thin, she looks past my shoulder and her chin trembles.

'I shared a room with my sister, 2 years younger than me. I must have been 5, and she wet the bed pretty much every night. She'd cry out, and Mom would tiptoe into the room, tall. She'd...'

Here she stops, swallows, rolls her eyes and makes an impatient gesture with her hand. She swallows again.

'Mom would help her change into fresh pajamas; sit her at the end of my bed, warming my toes. She'd change the sheets and tuck her in and whisper Goodnight and disappear again, tall.

She leans forward and drinks the beer in one swallow, continuing briskly as though to finish the messy business and put her heart back under wraps.

So I wet the bed myself one night. I cried out, and Mom came in. She wasn't gentle and kind, like I thought she'd be. She wasn't rough, either, just abrupt and tired and disappointed that it was me who'd called out. She could have been wondering what triggered it. If she'd been softer I might have done it again the next night. But she wasn't, so I didn't and I'd forgotten about it till now.

I have nothing to say, so I hug her.

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