Fran reached forward, her wet nimble fingers skilfully tapping the steel handle to stop the flow of water. Moving away, her finger deftly grabbed at the soap lying in its little dish to the left only to meet the sticky surface of the naked plastic. Damn it. Could nobody in this house ever replace the soap?
Fran felt around the wall to her left till her hand slid into the cleft that was one of the shelves in the tiny bathroom. She rummaged around the different packets of earbuds and cotton wools, make-up kits and plasters, until her hand came directly against the end of the in-built panel, meeting the cold tiles.
None after all.
Suppressing her desire to curse, Fran muttered something that sounded completely nonsensical even to her under her breath and turned back to the sink. She could feel the cold marble basin against her bare arms as she lifted them over the rim, dabbing her fingers in the sticky leftovers of soap. With deft, practised motions, she turned the tap back on and washed her hands in quick strokes. The handle was at just the right angle for lukewarm water, exactly how she liked it. And the faint smell of the practically non-existent strawberry-aromatised soap Nelson had gotten her from Marseille wafted up to her nose.
Fran sighed. Another lesson learnt today. She should have known the soap needed replacing. And not depended on others.
Yeah, like that’s going to work.
Marjory was in the living room when Fran entered. Fran could feel the presence of her sister like no one else. Marjory carried around her the gentle, sweetish aroma of fresh misty mornings. Fran loped her arms around her, pushing her nose into her younger sister’s soft sweater as she breathed in the smell of spring. She wondered if the snow had already melted outside. Surely the rest of the world was also ready to welcome the spring.
Fran pictured her sister staring across the living room through the square kitchen window, out into the garden and beyond, towards the primary school across the road, where she had worked for a few months before leaving to care full-time for Fran. Marjory was so calm nowadays, though she had been the rowdiest of them all in childhood.
“Nelly’s coming soon.” Marj’s voice sounded faint. Fran could feel the silence stretch out before them as the sentence hung in the air.
“Where was he this time around?” Finally letting go, Fran made a move towards the kitchen bench where a tray with steaming hot chocolate and a plate of fresh croissants awaited her.
As her hand touched the smooth, cool top, however, her fingers immediately collided not with the expected wooden side of the tray, but a thin papery material of rectangular proportions: a letter.
“It’s addressed to you.” Her sister’s footsteps shuffled closer from behind. Fran could just picture Marjory’s wideset blue eyes teeming with curiosity. Or was it sympathy?
Times had changed.
Writing order: Leif Rennes (USA), Angela Shaw (NZ), Aiden Penn (Aus), Jasmine Groves (Aus), Roseyn(Aus), Suraya Dewing (NZ),Suraya Dewing (NZ), Donna McTavish(Aus), Linda Alley (Aus) Anna Zhigareva (Scot)