I’m not really sure what we came to expect when we were told we were finally meeting our half-sisters. I guess I expected that I’d make a friend. That doesn’t seem to be the case. We are sitting in a circle in complete silence, staring in different directions.
Today is the day of my dad’s, ahem, our dad’s funeral. He was never that great of a man, judging by the amount of kids he walked out on and the recent papers. Turns out he tried to steal the crown jewels. Then he shot himself on a rooftop. He was clearly insane. Now I know where I get that trait from. In the middle of our awkward circle is a framed photo of him smiling, and I can’t help but stare at it. He could have been a highly important figure in my life, had he not left my mum. But he didn’t. And he caused a few more accidents after me. Surely he should remember protection after one error?
Although there are obvious differences, I can tell that we are all related. Our face shapes are nearly identical and we all seem to have the same glimmer flashing through our eyes. Every so often I’m sure I see a part of me in these girls, but then I remember it’s not me I’m seeing. It’s James. I mean, dad. It’s him that I keep seeing in these people. The man that none of us have ever met, but is the second most important character in our lives. Funny that. Funny that his death is the reason we’re sitting together right now.
“Ahem.” An older, brown haired sister starts to speak. She pushes her square, brown glasses further up her nose before continuing. “There’s no point in us just sitting here, staring like statues. We need to at least acknowledge each other.” She glances around the room, scanning our faces, before a brawny sister with darker brown hair stands.
“Done.” She says and starts to walk away from our circle.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The girl with the glasses asks casually.
“Leaving. I’ve acknowledged you all. Now I can leave.” She doesn’t even look back as she heads towards the door.
“Not gonna happen.” The other says smiling. The taller girl stops and turns. “I locked this room up. I have the key. You aren’t leaving until we’ve had a proper chat.” She has a certain cheeky glint in her eye that almost looks like joy, but the other has eyes coated in rage. She unwillingly slumps back down in her chair, looking like at any moment she could attack. These are my half-sisters. And I wonder why I haven’t met them before. “So, shall we introduce ourselves?”
“I’ll start.” A younger looking sister says confidently. She gives a wide smile, revealing a missing tooth, before she begins to talk. “My name is Rebecca Cooper and I’m 13. I love the colour purple, and when I’m older I want to be a politician, although to be one you have to be rich and have gone to private school. I don’t care. I reckon I could persuade someone to let me in to parliament.” She seems somewhat cocky in her statement, but I can tell that she isn’t lying about her persuasion skills. She is obviously a peoples person, and she appears quite charming and an easy character to like. As she waits for the silence to be broken she runs her hand through her jet black hair, trying to smooth out some of the frizz that has gathered.
“My turn.” A small voice comes from the corner. An innocent looking girl smiles weakly before she introduces herself. She has dark auburn hair that also seems to have a habit of frizzing, and she has large eyes that constantly appear to be sparkling. “I’m Elizabeth Cox, 14. I live in London, like the rest of you, and I like cartoons and stuff. Oh, and I love David and Goliath clothes!” She says excitedly. She’s not lying; she is coated from top to toe in their clothing, which is cutesy and, in my opinion, very cringey. “When I’m older I want to do something like medicine. I’m clever enough, but I’m not sure about all the gore, it’s so disgusting!” ‘Her cutesy attitude is disgusting’ I can’t help myself from thinking. The only thing that would be worse about her is if she carried around a doll or tied her hair in pigtails.
After a moment of awkward silence the sister with the glasses, the one who locked us in here, speaks. “I’m Charlotte Taylor, 15 years old. I go to Pembridge Hall, a private school for girls.” I see every sister roll her eyes. ‘Snob’ is the word that comes to mind. “You already know that I’m quite devious and I enjoy being the one in control, but I’ll try not to let it get in the way of our blossoming relationships.” We all know it: our mums needn’t have bothered trying to make us get along. Just because our bastard of a father’s dead doesn’t mean we’re going to like each other now. The words are unspoken, but every one of us knows it. “Preferably I’d like to do something to do with the government. You know; something behind the scenes. Someplace where I can do all of the work and get none of the credit. That’s what happens in the government these days anyway.” I see Rebecca’s mouth open in protest, but it shuts again when the words click in her mind.
“I guess it’s my turn.” I say slowly. “My name is Victoria Simpson. I’m 17 and I’m in Sixth Form. I’m hoping to go to university soon to study medicine, and according to teachers I’ll probably get the grades for a good course. They keep telling me Oxford, but UCL seems more likely. Maybe St Andrews, if I’m lucky.” I feel myself rambling on about my studies. They aren’t interested. They’d prefer me to talk about something else. But, my studies are all I really have. I don’t have anything else to share. Apart from my severe lack of emotions. Of all people they would be the ones to understand it, I guess. Still, I feel my mouth lock up as I go to mention it. They can learn about it in the unlikely occasion of us meeting again.
The youngest girl in the room coughs to get our attention before speaking. All the rest seemed to dose off as I opened my mouth. She twiddles her fingers together, unsure, before speaking. “Hi. I’m Alexandra Tate, and I’m 12. I’ve just gone up to secondary school and its pure hell.” Everyone smiles in agreement. Ah yes, year 7. The worst year of schooling. “School is awful, and I don’t have much free time anymore either so I don’t really have much to say.” I see a glint of sadness flicker in her chocolate brown eyes before she smiles again and puts her mask back on.
“Your turn then.” Charlotte turns to the grouchy, chavvy sister. She groans.
“You are nothing to me. Why do I need to? I hate you all already.” Every sister glares at her with a cheeky smile. We all have the same urge to really annoy her.
“You aren’t leaving this room until you’ve introduced yourself!” Charlotte sings, mocking her. I see the fury in her face as she stands.
“My name is Katherine Smith and I live in London. I’ve lived 16 sorry years and they have been pure hell because someone left me and my mother to starve. That’s why I hate you, daddy. And all of you too. Give me the key; and if you don’t I’ll break your face.” Charlotte smirks and tosses Katherine the key. “Fuck you all.” Katherine says to the circle. She turns to the picture. “And fuck you too.” She picks up the picture and throws it against the wall by Rebecca, making Elizabeth jump and Alexandra whimper, and she gives us all a middle finger as she waltzes out of the room.
There is a stunned silence.
“I think it’s best if we go.” Rebecca says, in a surprisingly calm manner. We nod, and Alexandra scampers out the room as the rest of us slip on our coats.
As I pick up my bag I notice Charlotte trotting towards me.
“You seem fun.” She says to me. I blink in surprise as my mind scrambles in an attempt to find a response.
“Me? Fun? That is the opposite of the word that I’m normally described as.” She laughs, as I stand there awkwardly, not understanding human humour.
“There is stuff you didn’t say to us, and that I think is the most interesting.” She smiles knowingly, as if there is some private joke between us that I should know about. “Here.” She hands me a note. “My email and phone number. Contact me sometime. Facebook me too.”
“I don’t have Facebook.”
“Then don’t Facebook me. Just call.”
“What if I want to email?”
“You won’t.” She smiles before strutting away with confidence. I look at the note before slipping it away and taking my own leave. How did she know I prefer to call rather than email or text? Well, she is related to me. I’m sure we both got that quality from somewhere.
Seeing us all acting that way was very strange. What a strange group of people. What a strange meeting. And, after Katherine’s show, I’m sure it’ll never happen again. What a shame. I would kind of like to see us all together again sometime.