‘Thoughts of a Sidelined Sister’

In the end, it was never about her, but me. Nobody stopped me from dancing – but she danced so well, all eyes drawn to her swaying hips and joyous expression, I gradually began to sit down more and just watch. I felt as though I was doing the right thing in joining others in their adoration, and ignored the small niggle saying otherwise, dismissing it as selfishness. The microphone always passed to me as well on the family karaoke nights, but she sang so well, with time I thought it best to just pass the mic along so that everyone could take pleasure in her voice for that much longer. That high school summer when we both qualified for the temp job in the library, I backed out of the interview so she could claim it, and told myself it was fine – she needed the experience. Continue reading


‘A mix of guilt and fear’

To be read in conjunction with ‘First betrayal…and revenge‘…

The only reason I come to the half-open window in the first place is because the wind is swooping through it with unseasonable force for this time of year, and when I catch sight of you next to the car, I freeze. A familiar, nauseating mix of guilt and fear envelopes my heart and a constellation of memories flits through my mind – embraces that have lost their warmth, your earnest protestations that everything will be just fine, a long-sought-for spark as her lips meet mine for the first time. The world quietens and slows for just a moment, as you raise a lit match – and then it speeds up again with a terrifying clarity. As you flick the match and I scream, anger enveloping fear, I realise that I have known from the very beginning what you are capable of.  Continue reading

Follow up to previous post, writing prompt exercise ‘Home’

I know, I know, the gaps between posts remain long – sorry 😦 I’m in a bit of a creative rut at the moment, just desperately trying to catch up with the travel blog posts over here, and neglecting this space!

Anyway, I said I’d do a follow up bit to a previous post about a girl called Harriet’s anger at her mother’s affair/other things, this time from Harriet’s mum’s PoV so here it is 🙂 no word count adhered to here, just wanted to cover mum’s thoughts.

Mary had stopped calling about three days ago, because she had realised that there was no point. Harriet had always been that way: stubborn, especially in the face of what she saw as ‘morally wrong’. Mary desperately wanted a chance to explain, and to tell her daughter she hadn’t meant to hurt her, that she still loved her, that she still loved Jack and even their father, in a way, despite everything.

Mary had known that when she sold the cottage, Harriet would be a little upset but she hadn’t managed to judge quite how distraught she would become. On reflection it made sense, given such incidences as the time when, at fifteen years old, her daughter cried upon her childhood teddy bear being given away to a younger cousin, despite never having cuddled the thing for a good six years…such incidences had been fairly common as she was growing up but Mary had thought she’d have grown out of such sentimentality by now. She had sold the cottage purely because balanced against the amount of upkeep it needed, given the profit it would yield, it made so much more sense to give it up and move closer to work, and Eric. Jack had decided to stay with his father (with regular visits to Mary) which was fine – but Mary didn’t particularly want, then, to stay isolated in a countryside cottage away from everything and everyone.
As for the affair, well…that was far more unforgiveable, she knew that, but hoped her daughter would at least come to understand why if not forgive her. But how did you explain to an idealistic romantic such as her twenty-something year old Harriet that sometimes, you fell out of love but kept trying – pretending, really – for the sake of your family, for the wonderful man who did nothing wrong except become a stranger through routine, and that pretending for so long could push you to a breaking point you never thought you’d reach? And then upon crossing that point, how difficult it became to ‘come clean’? Of course she should have told her ex husband, she knew that then and knew that now, and she had never intended for things to go on as long as they had.
But how could she explain all these things if Harriet wouldn’t speak to her, no matter how many times she called? The bizarre thing was she had explained them to Harriet’s father and they were still on talking terms.
Her chance came one Sunday morning when she was sorting out some bank related paperwork (astonishing how much paperwork built up over the course of the divorce, even though it wasn’t an acrimonious one in the end), half wondering if she should just go and knock on the door of Harriet’s flat at some point. A slight fear of what her daughter might do if confronted in person was what was holding her back.
As she was dividing completed bits of paper from uncompleted, her mobile rang.
“Hello, Mary Tayl – Mary Railey speaking,” she still couldn’t get used to using her maiden name again, which she would keep until Eric and she decided to make things official.
There was a pause.
“Hello?” she said again.
“Hi, mum. It’s me…” said her daughter’s voice, hesitant, quiet, unsure. Mary could have cried.
“Hello, sweetheart. I’m so glad you called…”

Well, I hope that paints mum in a more understandable light than the one Harriet painted her in! I’ve checked both posts for discrepancies already but if you spot any I’ve missed, let me know. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Ro x