Oonah V. Joslin
Frances always got round Daddy for more pocket money.
She got the pink dress.
“You’d only tear it playing football,” mother said.
Betty Rea was my best friend until she met Frances. I had a funny feeling seeing them together; all cozy-like. The next week Betty came to ask, “Is Frances coming to play?” Same with Rachel Turvey.
People always gravitated towards Frances. She’s my twin; alike and yet unlike. If anything, I’m the prettier.
I caught Brian Tuffnall's eye on her when he was kissing me goodnight. Frances was waiting, somewhat impatiently.
“You were looking at her legs!”
“Well, it’s kinda hard to look at anything else in that skirt,” he said.
“Really? Well, you can go and get it kinda hard elsewhere, matey,” I said and didn’t look back.
Well rid, she’d said. Men were all the same.
Freddie was the exception. He’d never looked twice at Frances. They’d danced after the wedding, her being bridesmaid and she’d kissed him.
Well, they were brother and sister now. Frances had looked stunning that day, all in lemon with her honey blond hair loosely plaited, interwoven with flowers. I told her, “You look beautiful, sis.”
“You too, Bev,” she said, but I was pale and puffy in white. Pregnancy didn’t suit me.
Frances was always helping. She and Freddie decorated the nursery. She even knitted baby clothes.
“I’ve found the most darling Moses basket, Bev,” she said, placing it obliquely in the corner where spring light shone in through the nursery window past the crisp, gingham curtains she’d hung.
“Lovely,” I said. “I suppose you’re getting in practice for when it’s your turn. Will we meet him any time soon?”
“Oh, you know me, Bev,” she said.
I didn’t. She’s always been alien to me.
When I brought the baby home, Frances was there. The spare bed was made up but that didn’t mean anyone had been sleeping in it.
“I just thought I’d stay and help out a bit,” said Frances.
“Oh? Been looking after you all right, has she?” I asked Freddie.
“What do you mean?”
“And you, don’t you have a home to go to?”
“You’re tired,” she said. “Let me take him and you lie down...”
I grasped my child closer. “You’ve always wanted everything that’s mine. Well, you’re not having my husband—”
“Bev,” she said softly, “You know I’m a lesbian.”
“And you’re not getting my baby, you slut!” I made to slap her face. The baby fell to the floor between us. I didn’t throw him down!
She came to visit me today, the bitch who killed my little boy! Brought flowers. The only flowers I want to see are the one’s I’ll put on her grave.
First published: November, 2008
comments to the writer: