I awake with a start. Then I remember.
November again. The dreariest month in the year.
Worse, it is the anniversary of my sister's death. I think of her every morning and night, and sometimes talk to her in my sleep, it is true, but however I pretend, I cannot help feeling somehow guilty that I am an only child, and have been for five times three hundred and sixty-five days.
I can say sincerely that I have never forgotten; that I have never lost to my memory the image of the girl on the boards; it is among my few memories. I cannot remember her face. She is always face down. She had dark eyes, people say, and wonderful dark hair. A perfect nose, a sweet mouth, and long dark lashes. Other than that they cannot say. Photos I just won't bear to look at. So I never have. I am too homesick for a time that is gone forever.
I get out of bed, still pondering on the mystery on the murder, exactly as I have done for the past five times three hundred and sixty-five days. I wander groggily to the bathroom, where I glance at myself in the mirror.
In the past five years I have grown less and less like my alluring dark sister and my attractive dark parents. Sandy hair, murky eyes and stubby fingers are the least of my troubles. My nose looks squashed, my teeth grow crooked and my hair looks like a loo brush. My neck is short and fleshy, like the rest of me. I sigh. No surprise that my parents never loved me. I am ugly. Even at this age I have begun to notice tiny children frowning at me as I walk by the street. And my beloved sister - she, the most beautiful girl in the school!
I wonder if she would still like me. Fifteen is a tough age. She would have been nineteen now, had she lived, and probably at University studying to become a nurse as she had always dreamed. What must it feel to have a vocation? a call and a purpose? Moved away, she'd have found a handsome guy-friend and forgotten all about her little brother, who looked up to her and adored her so. Not that I'd grudge her the guy-friend. I love my sister too much for that. Love? Loved.
Would her favourite colour still be blue? I shudder. I have shied away from blue for five times three hundred and sixty-five days. My favourite is still red. I am loyal, I like to think, if not much else - loyal to the words I once spoke to my dear dead sister: "Red is always best!" I wouldn't like to be any different when I meet Vere again; if I still believe in Heaven, that is. I hate yellow, of all colours. Vere and I always agreed on this. If only I wasn't so very yellow. Would Vere have changed her mind about yellow, though? People change as they grow. Not I. I do not change, for Vere's sake. And nor would she.