A part, Apart.




I am sitting in a room which has been turned upside out, and wrung inside out. It has wooden laminate floors, wooden bedside tables, a wonderful light polished wood little desk with a solid oak chair, and a pretty white lamp. Two old, crooked beds stand on either side of the room, and there is a large space in the middle for dancing, lying on the floor in a stress-induced coma, sitting intently in front of a chessboard/large jigsaw puzzle… hey, you name it!

There is a round striped red, cream and brown rug in the middle of the empty space, and it smells absolutely heavenly. Like jasmine wreathed in an ethereal perfume. An old Victorian fireplace, still in its original form and therefore slightly crumbling stands in the centre of the east wall, below an old wooden mantle that is slightly rickety. Books that are old and thumbed through scatter shelves about the room. I have removed them all from the floor, there’s a start! There is a large window which lets in exorbitant amounts of sunlight. There is a built-in wardrobe filled with fancy fluttery things I will never wear. On one of the bedside tables there lies an omnibus edition of The Lord of the Rings. The inside of its front cover is inscribed with the words, “To Ellie, from Len”.

I am very proud of this room. It has been through a lot. I sobbed over many things before I extracted myself from them and eventually threw them out. It is clean, it smells fresh. I worked bloody hard on it.

So, I shall desperately want to see my lovely sister’s reaction when she walks in after hours of travel, heavy suitcase in hand. I want to see her tremble with excitement as her eyes rove over the rearranged furniture. I want to see her smile as she realises all the junk that is actually my junk is finally thrown away. I want to see the joyous rapture in her eyes when she sees the new bookshelves on the wall, stacked with all her old loves. I want to hear her tremulous gasp as her eyes finally fall upon the fat slab of a book on her bedside table. Hear the loud thump as her suitcase drops to the ground. See her dash, her pretty scarf trailing like a fluttering swirl of sunshine behind her as she falls upon the treasure she has long awaited. Watch her excitedly thumb through the pages, laughingly read out her favourite parts, her eyes glancing up at me to see if her older sister is listening. And I am, I am laughing, listening, enjoying her voice tumble words out excitedly, not pausing for breath, feverishly sifting through chapters.

Finally, as her pleasure is exhausted, because one cannot rapture over something for so long, the book falls to her lap as her long slender fingers clasp together and she looks up at me with glee. Her arrival is complete.

I miss my sister.

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