Our room was shaped like an L — my sister Kathy’s bed at one end and mine at the other.  Four years stretched between us. Sometimes it was a small stretch, like our room. At other times, those four years were like a continent. In the dark, when I was very young, it was both.


I often greeted “lights-out” with fear.  It was such a lonely time and my loneliness would become fear and my parents easily tired of my worry. But my sister Kathy did not.  Into the pitch dark of our northwest-facing room, she would start telling me about Noodle, Strudel and Topple — three girls, always older than me yet younger than she, who lived on the teaching planet called Biff.


The full moon never shined into that room. Streetlights did not even exist on our road. Night time was dark time and my bed was no longer a cradle. Yet somehow, my sister called in the Light. Her voice, free floating in the dark, always drifting toward me, was the night-light that brought me comfort.


And those three sisters, Noodle, Strudel and Topple, always knew how to show me the next way to carry on, to cope, to survive, to get through to what was next no matter what.  And yes, I know now, my sister was Noodle and she was Strudel and she was Topple, too. And so was I.

— Peg Edera