Claudine looks miffed, Mum is on the verge of crying and I still have no idea how I suddenly acquired a sister called Pandora. I hear the door swing closed.
“Oh great, now Pandora’s in a mood. She left” my mother wipes her face gingerly with a tissue. She fumbles through her bag and pulls out a compact.
“And now I look a state! Excuse me for one moment” She gets up and strides to the door beside the bed. When she opens the door I glimpse a mirror and a toilet. She closes the door behind her and I hear the click as it locks. I’m left alone with Claudine; she looks empty and stares vacantly out the window. I decide to be the first to speak.
“Um, Claudine… What’s going on? Are we getting married?” She turns her head to me slowly and deliberately. Her eyes are red reminding me off yesterday in the shop.
“Why can’t you remember Joseph? You called me up a month ago in the middle of the night” She paused a small smile playing on her lips, she sighed, “You told me you loved me and the next day you gave me this” She held her hand out showing me the diamond ring. It looked expensive. I remembered telling her I loved her, in an extremely un-ordinary situation. I thought she was going to kill me if I didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear.
“Oh yeah, I remember” I lied and watched her eyes light up and a smile stretch across her face like a rainbow.
“Yeah, of course” I was anxious to move on, anxious to find out more of this elusive sister of mine; Pandora, “So what can you tell me about Pandora?”
“Oh you know Pan” she brushed it off, “Two years younger than you, bit fat and short. I always thought she should get someone to do her hair for her. I don’t trust people who do their own hair” I sensed that Claudine was about to go off on one of her rambling speeches of ‘The Qualities of Good Hair’ and was saved by my mother’s appearance from the bathroom and Claudine’s need for one.
She rose from her chair and scooted around my mother who was now sitting in Claudine’s chair comfortably. I waited until Claudine was safely locked in the bathroom before whispering urgently.
“Mum, am I seriously getting married?”
My mother ran a purple-green coloured lipstick over her lips and looked at me straight in the eyes.
“That’s what I tell myself every day son since you told me you were marrying that tart” She rose her eyes to heaven, “God knows what you see in her. I could have set you up with some nice model’s I style for if you had asked. Too late now though, you’re stuck with the tramp”
“But I’m too young to get married!”
“Nonsense, you’re twenty-two for God’s sake! I was seventeen when I married your father. And he was thirty-five!”
I froze; I thought I heard something outside the door too familiar for my liking. The door swung open again and I hardly recognized her.
She wore a simple blue pleated skirt with matching double-breasted suit jacket. Her legs were bare and if I heard correctly she was wearing a pair of Jimmy Choos exactly like my mother’s.
Her mane of vibrant red hair was subdued and paled to a more natural shade of red and she had combed it back with a turtle-shell beret. Her fringe still fell over one dark eye easily though. She smiled at me and I felt a shiver run down my spine.
“Joseph, finally you’ve decided to join us” I knew what she was doing, I could see it in her eyes. Her name wasn’t Jo anymore if it ever was.
“Hello Pandora, nice to see you again”