“She hated strangers talking about her as if she wasn’t standing right beside them”.
An excerpt from the short story
The Mathematics of One Winter Blanket / Naomi Epstein
…. “Two sisters
One agricultural boarding school
Three hours of study each morning
Five hours of farm work.
The older sister, trapped in the shadow of her sister’s beauty.
The younger, so blond and with such white skin that she was noticed everywhere, at once.
The summer sun seemed to leave no impression.
The younger sister was unaware that the combination of those long blond braids, wide eyes and frank expression was beautiful. All she knew was that in the late 1940s her looks made people, strangers, talk between themselves about her: “Look at this one. If she had been there, she would have been saved, she would have been spared”. She hated strangers talking about her as if she wasn’t standing right beside them. And those braids – years of pain at the hands of her mother’s hairbrush. Yet she kept silent, always the obedient daughter, the only one in a family of five doing her mother’s bidding, always at her mother’s side.
You can read the complete short story here: