SWIMMING IN CIRCLES

by Janet Brown
Photo: Peter Robinson

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SWIMMING IN CIRCLES

by Janet Brown

Set on Bruny Island, Tasmania, ASTRID and KARLY are sisters who have a difficult relationship. Their mother has recently died after a long illness. ASTRID aged 42, married to BEN, and they have a six year old daughter named CHARLOTTE. She lives in Hobart and works in the office of an accountant. KARLY is 35, single, a research scientist, who for the past several years lives mostly in Cairns and works on a green turtle project on Raine Island, in the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. KARLY has returned to Bruny Island to meet ASTRID at their mother’s old cottage in Adventure Bay, a very pretty town by the sea in July. The last time the sisters were together was six months ago when KARLY visited in January. KARLY did not return for her mother’s funeral in May so this is the first time they’ve seen each other since their mother died. It is a very cold rainy day. ASTRID is sorting through her mothers’ clothes, putting them in piles and boxes to go to the op shop.

Their conversation implies they are circling each other, attacking, retreating – just like the green turtles circle each other, swimming round and round; the dog swam in circles when it was trapped, then they swam in circles…and she opened her flippers. ASTRID is now worried about who is the father of KARLY’s baby.

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