Download e-book for kindle: Brothers and Sisters by Charlotte Wood

By Charlotte Wood

ISBN-10: 174175822X

ISBN-13: 9781741758221

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Extra info for Brothers and Sisters

Sample text

I spend a lot of time peering at their big soft eyes and kind smiles, noticing the way they seem to be looking at men like they love them. I never even look at my brothers, or my father, without turning my head away, just as they, too, avoid looking at me. One day I put my wall mirror on the floor and try to smile just like the girls with my legs open wide, but my forehead looks stern and my tummy thick and white—also I have a birthmark on my thigh that looks like dirt. ‘Don’t worry. Everything will grow.

Weary of manners and adult directions, first one boy then another broke away from the game and began running up the hill and rolling down again. Soon all of them were rolling and shrieking and somersaulting down the slope. Late-afternoon shadows were stretching across the park but the day’s clamminess seemed to have increased. In the heat, with the river so close, this fierce prickly game looked like madness. Over and over, hysterical, they rolled and climbed. Behind the main clump of boys, Anthony, less quick and agile, dizzy and red-faced, grass sticking to his shirt, picked himself up and staggered up the incline once more.

Looking down I see my smart school tunic rising to the surface, the wide green pleats swaying like leaves, brushed cotton ballooning on my arms, long white socks still standing stiff to attention. And now, surrounded by defeat and wetness, I sob for my loss of dignity. Quietly, like a final word on the matter, one of the boys looks down on me. His lips fat with contempt, he says, ‘Who will marry that? ’ Of everything that has been said and done in the last five to ten minutes, this is what makes my breath stop, for I realise he doesn’t see a little girl dumped in a tub of water, but rather the beginnings of a madwoman.

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Brothers and Sisters by Charlotte Wood

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