Monday, February 18, 2008


Harold never knew about his big sister. She died in the womb, strangled with Harold’s umbilical cord as he jockeyed for position on the runway to post-partum life. Born three minutes before him she never felt her mother’s love or the cosseting of a warm terry blanket. Ada was never allowed to grieve; the needs of her son outweighed her need to cry for her lost daughter and it was thirty-seven years before she felt able to face the tiny grave with the piece of slate inscribed with the words ‘Alice, 1968.’ Harold had asked about it once – he’d not been more than six or seven. She’d dismissed his question with a shake of her head and buried his dog next with an identical headstone.

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