The picture itself is so faded now that only I know what it really holds within its narrow pale pink frame.
We are both holding Chinese paper parasols over our heads, and we have our arms around each other’s shoulders. The parasols are identical too, except in colour, but I don’t remember the actual shades, just that they were highly-patterned with Asian style peonies and blossoms — and were very fragile.
I can smell the day. Heat, hot grass, the long drop. Feelings too; sunburn, tiredness from running in the heat and swimming.
When I look at the tiny black and white photograph that this pastel was based on perhaps only I can see the serious look on my sister’s face, the shadows under her eyes. She was always a quiet child, my big sister, my absolute rock. I looked up to her. I followed her and confided in her. But now, older and wiser and more understanding of family undercurrents, I think it may have been the other way around.