I took the photograph from its envelope for about the umpteenth time since it had arrived in the mail this morning. It was a photograph of my three sisters. The one on the left is Catherine, a gifted pianist and the one with the sweetest nature. In the middle is Ella, the eldest, dependable and competent; she knew what she wanted from life and how to get it. Pansy, to the right, is the youngest, stubborn as a mule with the temper of a wildcat. I loved all three and soon they would be with me, setting sail from England to join me in New York. They had all remained spinsters and I had persuaded them to leave England to help me set up a new family business. It was selfish of me really - I wanted them with me and, hopefully, it would make them forget about that damned suffragette movement they had become involved in. It was January now and I could hardly believe that in just three months time, we would all be reunited.
I don't know what happened at that point..... perhaps I fell asleep for a while...... I felt lightheaded and everything seemed hazy. The photograph had fallen on to my lap. I held it up once more and couldn't make sense of what I saw. The photograph seemed to have aged. It was faded and dog-eared at the corners...... but the worst thing of all was that the outlines of my sisters were blurred..... and their faces..... I couldn't see their faces...... they seemed to be disappearing. I felt a dreadful feeling of foreboding but could not think why.
"So what did you do Archie?" Mary asked. "What happened then?"
"I ordered them all to tear up their tickets, the ones for their passage on Titanic, which they did.... they always took notice of their big brother," the old man replied. "I went back to England instead and joined them there..... it didn't stop their carry-ons in that blasted women's movement, but at least they didn't end up on the ocean floor. I saved their lives, you see."
Archie smiled with satisfaction knowing that he held their attention completely. They had all heard the story before, everyone.... residents in the home and carers alike, that story and more besides. Old Archie had never had three sisters - he had no family left and got no visitors. He was unaffected by this. What he liked to do was cut out photographs from newspapers and magazines and make up stories about them. He was one heck of a storyteller.