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Well, Analise called. She sounded wonderful and cheerful and excited about all the things she had been doing in London and Italy. My worldly young woman.

An hour later she called again. At about midnight London time. When I answered the phone I heard the voice of my little girl, a little girl who couldn’t go to sleep, all alone in a silent house full of sleeping people in a big strange city across a great dark ocean many, many miles away from her mother. Something neither of us is used to. I talked to her quietly and calmly—she was calm, too, but hers was a precarious calm—and reminded her that her body would take care of itself, that it knew to fall asleep and would soon. I told her to read, try hard to stay awake for thirty minutes and that that reverse psychology was remarkably effective. And I said to her how resilient she is, how marvelous she is, and what wonderful things she could do even after only a couple of hours of sleep.

Then Alex came downstairs, grabbed a bag of pita chips.  I put my hand over the phone and whispered, “Talk to your sister, say something to make her feel better.”

And here is the abridged version of his side of that conversation:

(Sound effects: Thunderous crunching of pita chips into the receiver loud enough to wake folks sleeping as faraway as… well, let me see, maybe London?)   

Hey girlie-girl, what’s the deal-e-o?

Uh, oh. Why don’t you count those things jumping fences?

You know, sheep.

No, you gotta count sheep.

You can’t just count anything. No, shoes won’t work. It’s gotta be sheep.

Ah, well, don’t worry. You know all the cool kids are insomniacs. Todos los chicos coolos.

That’s Spanish.

Shouldn’t you have learned a little Spanish by now?

Oh, really. Where are you anyway?

Ok. Nighty-night.

And all I can say is that when I got back on the phone, Analise sounded fine. I feel pretty she sure went straight to sleep and had sweet dreams filled with bionicals, transformers, legos of all shape and sizes, Harry Potter, and a little rock and roll.

Brothers are just perfect sometimes.