Margaret has been in a comfortable rut for years. Maybe that’s why she’s so nonplussed when an attractive stranger gives her flowers and invites her to dinner. Meeting Owen and his companion, Duck, opens new vistas for Margaret, but what will her twin sister, Marguerite, make of her romance?
Marguerite and Margaret have always been chalk and cheese, but when the chance discovery of a forgotten childhood secret threatens Margaret’s happiness, her sister has the words she needs to hear.
As Marguerite points out, who hasn’t done something they are ashamed of? And maybe, even after fifty years, it’s not too late to make things right.
Margaret Mink stared across the table at her sister, Marguerite. Nominally, they were identical twins, but the sixty-something years since their birth had wrought some changes in their shared features. They had once been known as Maisie and Daisy, rhyming monikers that made older aunts beam and murmur about cuteness.
In their teens, they’d rebelled.
“Maisie and Daisy? We sound like a couple of cartoon kids,” Marguerite had opined.
They’d played with Margot and Meg, Maggie and Mags, Meghan and Marnie, and even ventured as far as Peggy and Max.
None of these nicknames took. Margaret supposed they might have forced the issue by refusing to answer to anything else, if they’d felt strongly enough about any pair of replacements.
Garry and Ettie?
Gu and Ga?
Sounds like babies.
Greta and Marg?
Pearl and Rita?
Eventually, they regrouped and retreated and reverted, though maybe not in that order, to their formal given names.
Margaret and Marguerite.
Margaret was a few minutes older, and she came first, alphabetically speaking.
Marguerite had the fancier name that came with built-in frills and sophistication.
Margaret’s name was easier to spell.
Marguerite’s was longer.
They sounded similar, but with their bearers constantly mistaken for one another, that wasn’t much of a problem.
Margaret cut her hair.
Marguerite kept hers long.
Margaret wore sensible clothes.
Even in their Maisie and Daisy days they weren’t permanently together. Mum was afraid they wouldn’t make friends since they had one another, so she had a word with the school and got them into different classes. Maisie was in Grade One Oakley and Daisy in Grade One Kattar. Maisie went to Possum Club for a while. Daisy did Jolly Gymnastics.
They had separate bedrooms.
Margaret’s was pink and green.
Marguerite’s was purple and grey.
Mum had done her best.
As adults, they shared a flat, but then Mum had her accident, so Margaret moved back in with her. It was a relief not to be falling over Marguerite’s boyfriends or having them grab her by mistake.
They were always mortified, especially lovely Colin, whom Marguerite eventually married.
Margaret worked as a receptionist for the Delmsford Real Estate Emporium, which sounded more important than it was. Old Mister Catchpole treated her like a favoured niece.
She was promoted to showing people around the properties.
When the recession hit in the 1990s, Mister Catchpole retired. His successor was a new broom. Margaret was let go.
“I’d be grateful, if I was a fish,” she said to Marguerite during their monthly catch-up.
“Time for new job anyway,” Marguerite said. She was forever changing her job, and her boyfriend, and even her home.
“Such as?” Margaret asked.
“I live in Delmsford. There’s a recession on. No one’s hiring. And there’s Mum.”
Margaret didn’t suggest Marguerite might take a turn looking after Mum. They knew it wouldn’t work.
Margaret’s new job was at the local supermarket. Being a checkout chick lacked the cachet of real estate, and she walked the long way round to avoid seeing her old colleagues who had kept their jobs under the new broom management.