INDIGO

I am Indigo Casson. I am now 19 years old and in my second year at University doing a degree in Geography and Geology focussing on arctic landscapes, and time has gone so fast I can hardly believe it. It sneaks up on you. Goes too fast when you're not looking and want to keep a moment forever and too slow when all you want to do is be anywhere but where you are.

As much as I try to go back home when I can, I generally only manage it about once every few months (which is what I'm doing now, as a surprise for Rose) because having a double major is serious hard work and assignments stop for no man. I really don't know how Sarah manages to do Law. The grades they have to keep up are ridiculous. But anyway, this all come down to my main point. Family, and the lack of visiting thereof.

Maybe I don't so much miss my family as much as I worry about them. Saffron and Sarah are fine, they have each other, are completely able to take care of themselves, and besides they go to the same uni as I do so I see them once a week or so. What I really worry about is Mum in the shed and if Bill (Dad) is still living at home (he has managed it for the last 3 or 4 years but with his record you never know) and if the bills get paid, if the power stays on or if there is petrol in their car and I ring up once a week just to make sure the house isn't falling in around their ears. They generally do ok; Bill takes care of stuff when he isn't at his art studio in town, flirting with all the arty people that frequent the place and travelling around on Very Important Art Related Business Trips (he says). And Mum is happy in the shed. Caddy, Michael and Buttercup (really have to stop calling him that, the poor kid is 4 now) and the newly born twins all have each other and are doing fine. David has Rose. And Buttercup actually. Football nutters.

But speaking of one Permanent Rose Casson, she is the person I worry about the most. The people who know her (or have heard the stories) would think that she is perfectly capable of looking out for herself. Hence her ferocious and independent personality. However, she mostly gets overlooked by the rest of the people in the world because of this sole trait. I know for fact that she does most of the shopping on her own out of the housekeeping jar, keeps the house in a general state of cleanliness and cooks most of her own food except for when David is home and does it for her specially (or she visits Sarah's mum down the road).

Kiran and Molly, her long-time best friends, are always around, which is good, but she is 14 now and I get worried about the stuff that girls have to deal with at that age (not that I really know, I am a guy and I can't ask Saffron and Sarah for fear of a very detailed answer that will scar me for life). I just hope like anything she hasn't morphed into a shattering looking girl like Sarah and Saffron in the months I've been gone or I'll have to find a very long range shot gun I can shoot from uni and hit the blokes hitting on Rose at home. Thank God she's not blonde. Or tall. Maybe I can get Tom to send her an email. Although he has been a right prat the last couple of years were Rosy Pose is concerned.

Well, I've just pulled into the driveway and knocked on the door. It's about 4 o'clock so hopefully Rose should be home (I knocked for the element of surprise by the way, usually I just turn up and let myself in). The door opens and there is my baby sister standing in front of me with a very unendearing scowl on her face that rapidly transformed to a look of such shock that I have to grin.

"Hello Rosy Pose,"

"Indy!" she shrieks, then grabs my arm and yanks me through the door (with bodily force I might add), and throws me down onto a chair at the dining room table.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded, "Aren't you supposed to be away? At University? Where you ditched us for an education like Saffy and Sarah and who needs one anyway?"

My grin grew wider. I missed Rose.
"And here I was thinking you would be happy to see me, Rose!"

She looked appalled.

"Of course I am happy to see you! You make amazing pasta when you leave out the awful sundried tomatoes and dry mixed herbs. And Le Morte de Arthur. And playing the guitar. And I do miss you. How's university?"

Well after this very flattering narrative I felt a hug was due. Rose, I can tell you, is not generally a hugging person. I'm not sure why, that's just the way she is. But when you can trick her into a hug or she feels you really need one she is probably the best hugger in the world. So I grabbed her into a hug before she could react and was surprised when she didn't squirm away like usual. If anything she hung on tight. I pulled back to get a better look at her.

She was wearing grey jeans and a battered old pair of Converse Chuck Tailors. Come to think of it, I think they might be an old pair of mine. Except her laces were red. Her baggy paint speckled t-shirt was black as well with a hood at the back and bright pink iron on letters that said "Not Exactly Art" that she must have done herself. I bet Bill loved that (kidding, that is sarcasm for those that can't recognise it). Her hair, brown and curly like always, had blue and purple streaks in it (obviously not the disaster it was last time. Hilarious) and hung to her shoulders. She'd gotten taller but was still short (thank goodness) and there was no make-up at all on her pale face that still bore freckles from the summer just gone. And she still only had one ear pierced that was currently sporting a black star earring. And she was still wearing the silver guitar pendant that Tom had given her years ago. Bloody Tom.

"You've grown, Rose," I said.

She just nodded wisely and said with a completely straight face,
"It happens, Indy, because time is linear and passing time means aging and aging means growing and you can't catch up to people who got a head start on you. Unfortunately. Kiran told me."

There was a second of silence and then we both cracked up. After that we just sat down and talked about stuff for the rest of the afternoon. Rose and me were always closer than the rest because we are the youngest and (at least in my case) the quietest. I made us my famous pasta mix, minus sundried tomatoes and mixed herbs, for dinner after I was given a tour of her latest works of art, including the outline of her view of Camelot Castle complete with tiny figures from Arthur's Round Table that was on her bedroom wall (don't tell Bill). Then Mum came in for a bit and exclaimed,

"Indy Darling! I didn't know you were here! You're so thin! How is University? How are Sarah and Saffron? How are you? Sit down and tell me everything Darling!"

After which I gave her a detailed account of my courses, friends, the place I was staying in (even though she saw it when I first moved in), and everything I knew about Saffy and Sarah. Then Bill and David came home and I had to repeat the whole thing again, but that was ok because it is what usually happens in this family. By this time Rose had disappeared. After I had given the (censored) details of everything I had been up to since they last heard from me (last week), Mum went back to the shed and Bill went with her while David went to practice his drums. And I went in search of Rose.

I found her in her room. Drawing (shock horror). She looked so absorbed by what she was doing that I didn't want to interrupt. I didn't realise until this moment that Rose has the same expression when she draws that Saffy has when she studies. I wouldn't have thought the two could be compared in any way, as they are absolutely nothing alike (in both looks and personality, apart from the fact that they are very dominant people), but there you go. I decided I had better make myself known or I would get my head bitten off when Rose caught site of me watching her and I was curious to see what had her so engrossed, so I said,

"What are you working on, Rosy Pose?"

Maybe I should have been a bit more subtle. She jumped a mile and shrieked,

"Bloody hell, Indy! Knock or something next time, you nearly ruined my drawing!"

Hmmm. Knocking. I didn't actually think about it, but I suppose I should have, she's 14 now. Not really a little girl anymore. I really do hate it when things change.

And I then endured the most furious, loud, indignant, and borderline terrifying telling off that I have received in a very long time that reminded me that sometimes, things don't change. I honestly think that Rose will be yelling at people as a way of coping with the world until the day she dies. How very reassuring.

After she had finished her very informative rant (you can generally learn more about what is going on in Rose's world from what she yells at you in the heat of the moment as opposed to what she will actually tell you) I attempted to lighten her mood by telling her that the people in London may not quite have heard her properly. I have always found that this is the best way to deal with an irate Rose. Humour cools her temper.

"Oh shut up," she mumbled grumpily.

See. Told you.