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(A short story of 2328 words)

Family Connections


by Chrissie Gittins

In the afternoons Emily sits by the window in her front room. She cannot understand when she sees a man walk by why he is talking into a remote control panel for the television. Her white eyebrows meet and she cocks her head to one side. Daily she dusts her paperbacks, but now only reads the T.V. guide and, occasionally, the local paper. On the lowest of her bookshelves are two alarm clocks standing one next to another.

At a twenty past six every day her sister Connie phones from Great Yarmouth. It’s nine years since they last saw each other. Connie used to visit once a year on the train. She’d stay a couple of hours and then go home. On her last visit Emily said, “Oh you don’t want to be bothered. You might get caught up in a strike.” She didn’t come again.

When their mother died in Great Yarmouth, Connie took over her bungalow. Emily thought she would at least be offered a piece of her mother’s furniture, but nothing came her way, not even a vase. The bungalow is now in the middle of a campsite and Connie runs the summer shop.

Emily and Connie were brought up at Forest Hill Swimming Pools. Her father was the superintendent there. A first class pool, a second class pool and slipper baths. Each morning before school, the sisters put on their costumes, climbed the stairs to the balcony and jumped off the rail. Blue and green stained glass, roman numerals on the clock, and the diving board flitted past them before their feet broke the glassy water...

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