By Clare Forrest
On the night of her 14th birthday she sits in a bomb shelter with her twin sister. They’re targeting the river, they hit Clydebank.
“What happens when we die?” “I want to come back as a bird.”
It’s been about 15 years since the last time I had a midnight feast at Nana’s. The set up is the same, except this time as we lie in bed giggling I’m overgrown and telling my niece stories from when I was her age, and she’s listening. “I haven’t got any stories like that”, she says to me “but that’s because I’m only young”.
We we’re young, and like sisters. We fought like sisters, but we were just as close. Now, we rarely see each other and when we do we are from different worlds. There is a massive bridge we have no idea how to cross.
“Why do you stand out here and whistle by yourself?” “I’m not by myself, I’m with the birds. Listen; they are whistling back.”
Her life wasn’t what she had imagined. She was often incredibly busy but it was with her every day. To remind her of the things she was thankful for she kept a small selection of mementos in her drawer. These were hers, and only she knew they were there and what they meant. These things kept her alive.
When David came back he wasn’t the same. He never spoke about what happened. His youngest sister was the only one who got through to him. Slowly and tentatively, she taught him to dance.
The only thing about having such romantic ideas of the world is that in the end, the disappointment is so massive, so unbearable that the breath chokes in your throat. That he started off with a dreary outlook always made him glad. At least that way his life had been filled with small surprises.
As the car pulled out of the drive way and left him behind she thought from the back seat, “I will remember this forever” and she watched him until he was completely out her sight.
I’m fickle, and I forget. With a flick of a switch I can forget you, and it’s like we’ve never been friends. I can’t remember why you meant anything to me at all.