She wasn’t there. I paused on the lowest step and looked past the two women running toward me. Lily wasn’t anywhere on the narrow station platform.
“Getting off, Lieutenant?” the conductor said.
I stepped down to the platform. My sister Ursula flung her arms about me and held me to her cushiony bosom and said my name over and over as if to taste the sound of it.
Miriam watched me with a tremulous smile. Her black hair was gathered back in a tight bun, showing her high forehead to the hairline. The summer sun had given an Oriental burnish to her normally dark skin, making a charming contrast with the egg-shell white of her thin, nicely filled sweater.
“Where’s Lily?” I asked Ursula.
“She couldn’t come.” Ursula’s fingers ran over the ribbons on my chest. “You didn’t write us about all those medals.”
“Why couldn’t Lily come?” I said Ursula stepped back.
“I’ll explain later. Aren’t you going to say hello to Miriam?”
I held out a hand to Miriam. She didn’t seem to notice it She leaned against me and tilted her face and I brushed her mouth with mine. Her hands touched my arms and fell away quickly when I turned back to Ursula.
“Is that the way to kiss Miriam after two years, Alec?” Ursula boomed.
She was a big woman, large-boned rather than fleshy, handsome rather than pretty. She was feminine enough for most men’s taste, except when she was bossy and then she assumed the voice and manner of a back-slapping male. I’d never liked that in her, and it jarred me now, particularly.
“Has anything happened to Lily?” I persisted.
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