This article is taken from Stand 211, 14(3) September - November 2016.

Maggie Freeman Sisters

Fishermen have placed upright chairs on the quay for the two sisters. They sit there straight-backed, the grey bulk of the castle rearing its great walls behind them, the green waves of the incoming tide lapping at the foot of the stone steps that go down into the harbour. They have on thick coats, their hands are folded in their laps. By their tightly-laced brogues squat their battered suitcases with the faded labels from where they have travelled in their lives - St Petersburg, Venice and Amsterdam on Vavrain’s case, Ibiza, Tenerife and Florida on Chloe’s. Needless to say, it’s Chloe who has the tan. Her face is creased and leathery. Vavrain’s pale skin is blue in the shade of the brim of her felt hat with its bright daisies tucked in the ribbon.

Chloe gets up and shakes her skirt over the edge of the quay. Crumbs from her sandwiches fall in the green water. Silver fish pop up, they open their white-rimmed mouths to snatch at the bits.

‘As if they were grabbing at knowledge,’ says Vavrain.

‘Greedy bastards,’ Chloe snorts. She discovers a lump of marzipan in a crease at her elbow, picks it off with her nail and licks it off her fingertip. ‘I wonder when that damned boat will come,’ she says.

‘They said, when the tide is right,’ says Vavrain.

‘We’ve been waiting here for hours,’ says Chloe.

‘The tide is coming in,’ says ...
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