This article is taken from Stand 238, 21(2) June - August 2023.

Wendy Brandmark The Sister
‘That one,’ Tommy says. As the train pulls in he bangs the window beside a young woman sitting on her own, his finger like a gun. When the doors open he heads straight for her taking the seat opposite and starts talking. Asking questions in a loud voice.

His sister Louisa sits nearby. She’s going along, putting on her stupid smile though she’s worn it so many times it no longer feels like a mask.

Tommy rubs his thumb over the woman’s finger where she wears a gold ring with a small diamond. ‘Nice,’ he says.

She puts her hand on the ring as if to take it back from him. Though he hasn’t stolen it.

‘You’re going where?’ he asks her. Always his voice is loud enough for his sister to hear.

The woman speaks low. She’s going into town to do this and that. Meeting a friend she says as an afterthought. She keeps herself still though probably she would run from him if she could. She imagines trying to get past his long legs stretched out towards her.

He’s wearing a tee shirt with a picture of some unrecognisable face or maybe a skull and though his arms are slender like the rest of his body, they are muscular, a lanky strength in him. His face is long too with a kind of flatness which can change from empty to laughing in a moment as if the expressions had nothing to do with his being.

The woman ...
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