Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. The original sent to me was quite long so I made an editorial decision to cut it down. If it ends abruptly, that’s all on me.
Not for the first time, Kyra Merrick wished she had a family that veered a little more towards the normal. Or at least a less virtual and more real-world relationship with her younger sister Antara.
Were there any other two siblings in the world who were best friends in cyberspace but hadn’t actually been able to meet since childhood? She doubted it.
She had decided she must confide her fears about Antara to their mother. Roxanne Garrison would probably be of little help, given her own peculiar relationship with her younger daughter. But she had to tell Roxanne the news about Antara anyway. Antara needed a favor and this time for a change, Roxanne had to come through.
She parked her red Toyota outside her mother’s apartment building and got out. LA’s balmy, if impure, air wrapped around her as she made her way up the stairs to her mother’s apartment.
She jabbed the doorbell and waited impatiently.
Footsteps approached, then Roxanne opened the door.
Kyra always appreciated how well her mother had maintained herself. Unlike a lot of women in their late forties, she had kept her slim figure and youthful appearance. Kyra liked to think she would inherit those genes.
She had been fortunate to have inherited her mother’s rich auburn hair and desirable high cheekbones, not to mention naturally thick lashes that enhanced her sea-green eyes and made mascara optional.
There the resemblance ended. The two differed widely where personality and character were concerned. Kyra sometimes wondered if this was the reason they were not close, but she knew the distance between them was due to something more than that. The fact that Roxanne had never been able to give Kyra a stable family life but had gone through three husbands before deciding serial dating trumped marriage was only part of the problem.
Kyra entered and was greeted by the smell of onions frying in oil. She saw that Roxanne had an apron over her T-shirt and slacks.
"Did you read my email?" Kyra asked.
"I’ve been busy all day, so I haven’t checked my messages. I was going to check after dinner."
Kyra inhaled. “Smells great.”
“Chicken curry. Your favorite, so you have to stay.”
The only positive memory Roxanne seemed to have of her years in India was of the food. Kyra had never heard her speak with praise of anything else Indian.
"I’ll help." Kyra headed to the kitchen and seized a potato and peeler from a dish lying on the counter. She started wielding the peeler like a weapon.
"What’s wrong?" asked Roxanne.
"I forwarded you an email from Antara."
"Is she okay?"
"If being on the brink of screwing up your life is okay, then yes."
Kyra sometimes wondered if any two sisters had as odd a relationship as she and Antara. She knew it was highly possible in this day of fractured families, but she still doubted it.
Twenty-two years ago, her mother Roxanne had gone to India on a teacher-exchange program soon after the death of her first husband, Kyra’s father. There she had met Jay, an Indian man who had become her second husband. Kyra had been a year old at the time. Her sister Anatara was added to the family a year later. When Kyra was ten and her sister eight, Roxanne and Jay had divorced and Roxanne had returned to America with Kyra, leaving Antara behind to be raised by Jay.
Initially heartbroken at being separated, Kyra and her sister had gradually adjusted to the situation and had written religiously to each other once a week. For a time they had looked forward to those letters with an anticipation they felt for little else.