Today our sister came for tea. Thinly cut sandwiches and iced fancies served on Mother’s best china. We sat in the parlour speaking in hushed tones. It felt strange sitting by a fire that was only ever lit on Sundays.
Today was different. Claire left home over two years ago with her small suitcase and this was her first visit back home. Home – the house we all had grown up in. Now as adults we sat uncomfortably in the parlour.
Before Claire had arrived mother had given us all our instructions in etiquette. A formal tea without the sibling familiarity we wanted. We missed Claire. She was always the fun-time girl. Now she was dressed demurely and her laughing voice had been replaced by more serious tones.
Mother had cried when Claire arrived. The long black dress trimmed with white confirming Claire’s commitment to a holy life. Mother had found it hard accepting Claire going away, we all had.
Claire was the youngest and it had been especially hard for Mother to accept she had grown up. She had no choice today as our sister sat serenely in the parlour resplendent in her convent habit.
© JG Farmer 2014