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"Magda and Anne" by Daisy Solomon

“She’s my best friend and I hate her”.  Who said that?

Magda and Anna have each said this in their time. 

And yet they are always together.  Magda does most of the talking, she explains the world to Anne.  Anne actually understands the world quite well, but is soothed to hear her big, best friend explaining.  Because she never contradicts, Magda believes Anne always agrees with her. 

Anne was not as sweetly compliant as Magda imagined.  She often found Magda overbearing, and sometimes dreamed of killing her.  When Magda’s eyesight began to fail, the GP had nothing to suggest, nor the occulist, at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  Magda enrolled for Braille classes at the City Lit.

Anne was a big help to Magda – of course she was – that’s what best friends are for.  But Magda’s spirits grew lower and lower.  I’d like to drown myself, she said to Anne, more than once.  “But that would be a sin”  Both girls were Catholic, and knew all about Sin.

“Not if someone pushed you” said Anne

Nothing further was said on the matter, but next time they were in the Pleasure Gardens, they walked by the lake.  It was a weekday and the Pleasure Gardens were almost deserted.  Anne was fascinated by the water, and leant over, peering into the lake.  “I bet its cold.” she said.

“Keep back” said Magda, “you don’t want to fall in”

So Anne stepped back a bit to get to run and go.  Very aware of her best friends position, Magda edged forward.  Despite her size, Magda was nimble, and she lightly stepped aside, allowing Anne to plunge, with all the force she’d been storing up to plunge Magda into the briny deep.

Anne swam and swam, aiming for the further side.  While she did so, Magda walked quickly around the lake, seized a barge pole she had had her eye on, and gently pushed her best friend further in.  As you know she was almost blind, and didn’t know for certain that it was a barge pole, until she had it in her hand.  Anne called out to Magda for help.

“Sorry darling, I can’t see you!” was Magda’s response. 

“Stop pushing me!” cried Anne

“What are you talking about?  I can’t see you!”

Anne was just a slight little thing (have I mentioned this before?) and not a strong swimmer.  Every time she grasped for the edge of the lake, the barge pole firmly dislodged her fingers,  until her strength failed entirely, and she slipped quietly beneath the water.

There were no witnesses.  The Police questioned poor blind Magda sympathetically, especially as she was weeping constantly for the loss of her dear friend.  She was alone in the world now.

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