Idioglossia | Eimear Ryan | Granta Magazine


Eimear Ryan

‘There is no face more familiar than one’s own.’

She isn’t shocked, exactly, by Kirsten’s disappearance. There is a part of Emily that has always been waiting for Kirsten to leave – to emigrate or become famous or die splashily, like from an overdose or in a plane crash. Kirsten is the wicked, mischievous twin. The one who wanted them to wear matching outfits, play pranks on their teachers, kiss each other’s boyfriends.

‘It’s like a bad marriage,’ Emily explains to the group. They nod compassionately. ‘You don’t get on, but you’re paired up. There’s no getting away from each other.’

This is Emily’s first time at the group. She clings on to her cookie for dear life. They are all here because they have lost a twin. They are all here to share. The group leader goes first, telling his story with the gravity and pathos of someone used to unfurling his pain. Everyone’s story is clear-cut in its tragedy. Their twins are lost to cancer, suicide, road traffic accidents. Emily’s is the only one unaccounted for.

‘At first I wasn’t worried,’ Emily tells them. ‘Because, well, she’s wild. An artsy type, you know? She has a habit of taking off whenever it suits her.’

‘You’re still talking about her in the present tense,’ observes the group leader. He’s an attractive man her father’s age, whose smile doesn’t trouble his eyes.

‘Well, yeah. She’s not dead.

There is an awkward silence.

‘I’ve brought posters . . . missing person posters. They’re in a stack on the refreshments table if anyone would like to take one. I’d really appreciate it.’

The group leader leans forward, elbows on his knees, coffee cup clasped: benevolence itself. ‘Emily, was it? Emily, this is a support group for people whose twins have passed. I am sure there are plenty of groups for the loved ones of missing people.’

Emily’s legs tense; she is ready to bolt. ‘Sorry. I just saw a flyer for people who’ve lost a twin. Which I have.’

‘She’s right,’ says a woman with dreadlocks. Her story is the twin she lost to leukaemia when they were eight. Her story is survivor’s guilt. ‘Who are we to question her pain?’

The group leader hesitates, probably making a mental note to change the wording on the flyer. ‘Fair enough. How long did you say she was missing again?’

‘Five weeks. But she’s alive. If she wasn’t, I’d feel it.’

The youngest of the group laughs, a cheery college boy whose twin is ten years’ drowned. He looks at her, a challenge in the tilt of his chin. ‘What are you, psychic?’

The group leader intervenes. ‘Now, Graham, we all experience twinhood differently. If Emily feels that she and her twin share a connection beyond the – ah, normal emotional spectrum, then that is her truth.’ He smiles at her with teeth. ‘You’ll have to forgive Graham. He’s our resident cynic. Go on, Emily.’

Emily smiles, clears her throat. ‘Our contact has actually dwindled quite a bit in the last few years. We were really only keeping in touch online. I feel quite guilty about that.’

The group leader nods. Graham grudgingly praises her honesty.

‘If she was planning to disappear, maybe she was deliberately distancing herself,’ suggests the dreadlocks lady. ‘You shouldn’t blame yourself.’

But Emily does. She used to read Kirsten’s social media feeds in a masochistic way, but now she’d give anything to see a new post, even of the sort that used to annoy her. Brunches. Nights out with (real-life) friends. #blessed. Emily’s own account is bare-bones: some tasteful holiday snaps from the summer she was skinny, a flurry of posts on her birthday. She is careful not to put up anything too personal. But Kirsten is a story to herself; for her, everything is fair game, especially her own life.

Occasionally Kirsten posts a creepy twin story to Emily’s wall: the Edwardian actress twins who played Romeo and Juliet and were rumoured to be sleeping together; the famous children’s book illustrators who perished in a mysterious fire in 1959. Kirsten collects these oddities. She revels in the witchiness of twinhood. Emily gives the articles a polite thumbs-up when they appear, telling herself it’s Kirsten’s way of showing she cares.

Social media is where Emily finds out about her sister’s first serious boyfriend. She watches the online dance of courtship unfold. They like each other’s posts a little too quickly. There are in-jokes and multiple taggings.

Emily is introduced to Leo on a rare night with her sister. It is difficult for the twins to socialise together. Exhausting. Their friends don’t mix well: Emily’s circle of teachers think Kirsten’s friends are entitled wasters, and Kirsten’s arty crowd think the teachers are boring sell-outs. A cross section of Coppers, Kirsten calls Emily’s friends – as if she’s ever been to that establishment, as if she’d ever condescend to dance to ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ with the nurses and the guards and the culchies. Emily prefers to think of her friends as grown up. Is it so wrong in your twenties to have a pension and a mortgage and a stable relationship?

Leo is lean, freckle-studded, with a great flop of Ken-doll hair. He generously offers weed to everyone. He looks like a celebrity chef, Emily thinks. Not one of the angry ones; one of the nice, smiley home cooks. He has a sensual knowingness about him, like a male Nigella.

‘He’s very good-looking,’ Emily tells Kirsten, impressed.

‘I know,’ she sighs. ‘I’m just not really into that at the moment.’

It is a typical, maddening Kirsten response. But it seems to Emily that as Leo drinks, it’s her he watches over the lip of his glass, not Kirsten. She wonders if he is about to propose a ménage à trois. It wouldn’t be the first time. But of course, he goes home with her sister.




Poto and Cabengo (born Grace and Virginia Kennedy) are American identical twins who spoke an invented language until the age of eight. Presumed developmentally challenged by their parents, they were never sent to school and had minimal contact with other children. The private language they developed was incredibly rapid and had a staccato rhythm. When they were eventually put in speech therapy, their idioglossia was revealed to be a mix of English and German with some neologisms. They were eventually enrolled in a mainstream school and placed in separate classes.




A week before she goes missing, Kirsten messages her in all-caps: PLEASE COME OVER. This never happens. Emily is alarmed enough to drop what she is doing and cross town to the place that Kirsten shares with Leo. It’s a treehouse of a flat above an almost-trendy street, where cafes teeter on the verge of opening up or closing down. She lets herself in with Kirsten’s spare set of keys.

The signs of a breakup are all over the kitchen. The sink is full of unwashed wine glasses. A half-eaten pizza in its box on the stovetop. A couple of bulging Hefty bags loiter in the corner, waiting to be taken outside. There is newspaper on the floor to mop up some unspecified spillage. Politicians and murder victims stare up from underfoot.

Kirsten is still in her pyjamas: black leggings and an oversized Breeders T-shirt. Her unwashed hair is wrenched back into a topknot. Emily hasn’t seen her sister without liquid eyeliner since 2004.

‘What happened?’ Emily asks. She realises she wants Kirsten and Leo to stay together. She likes her twin more when she’s in a relationship.

‘He left.’ Kirsten slumps onto the couch and swings her feet up onto the coffee table. She delivers a derisive kick to the box set of a critically acclaimed sci-fi drama. ‘We never even made it past season two,’ she says faintly.

‘I’m so sorry.’ Emily knows nothing of heartbreak; she has always been too cautious for that. ‘Breakups are hard,’ she ventures.

‘It’s not just that,’ Kirsten says. ‘I’m pregnant.’

The kettle gasps its last, then clicks off. Emily cannot remember putting it on to boil.

‘Are you sure?’ she asks.

Kirsten nods. ‘Went to the doctor today.’

‘Oh, my god, Kirst.’ Emily sits tentatively on the arm of the couch. She’s not sure if Kirsten wants to be comforted. She wishes their mother were still here. ‘Are you okay? Is there anything I can do for you?’

Kirsten blinks furiously. ‘Are you handy with a clothes hanger?’

Emily keeps her voice neutral. ‘So . . . you’re not having it.’

‘Gonna take the boat, as they say.’ She swipes at her eyes with the heel of her hand.

‘Is this why you guys broke up?’

‘No. Sort of.’ Kirsten swallows. ‘He doesn’t know. I didn’t want to tell him, which says a lot, right?’

‘Maybe you should tell him. He could surprise you, be supportive –’

She shakes her head. ‘It’s easier this way. Cleaner.’

Emily squeezes her twin’s hand, a foreign gesture; they are not usually this kind of sisters. She feels strangely elated. ‘You have to do what’s right for you.’

‘You sound like one of those crisis pregnancy leaflets.’ Kirsten laughs. ‘They give you a lot of leaflets.’

She puts one of the sci-fi DVDs in the player. Emily makes tea, and when she sits down next to her sister, Kirsten rests her head on her shoulder. They marathon four episodes without speaking.




It’s Emily’s turn to share.

‘I can remember the exact moment when twinhood stopped being fun,’ she says. The members of the group smile sadly. They all have a version of this story.

‘It wasn’t even when my mother left. Motherhood was too much for her, she said. She had to travel, make art, do what was right for her. No, we were closer than ever after that. It’s how we survived.’

What happens is: they are about to be nine, and into hiking and survival – reading about it, not actually doing it – and they beg for penknives for their birthday. Matching Swiss Army knives. Their father agrees, reluctantly, after they swear not to stab anything, especially not each other. It is two years since their mother left, and he has a hard time denying them anything.

But Kirsten’s knife soon finds its way into the brand new buttery-leather sofa. The stuffing spits out like froth and refuses to go back in. When called before their father, Emily speaks first: It was Kirsten, she says quietly. Kirsten’s look is horrified, betrayed. But it is Emily’s duty: she is the good twin.

What happens is: their dad does not believe her. What happens is: he punishes them both. Either their father can’t tell them apart, or he secretly prefers Kirsten. Emily can’t decide which is worse.

She cries bitterly, takes the punishment, and vows never to trust Kirsten again.




Kirsten makes preparations for what she refers to, euphemistically, as England.

‘When you’re a woman, “I’m going to England” only means one thing, right? Not any city in particular. Just England. With a capital E.’

‘It’s always got a capital E, Kirst.’

‘Italics, then. Emojis. Bells and fecking whistles.’

Crisis has banded them together for the first time in years. Emily helps her to book a Ryanair flight and find a clinic. The person on the phone says they deal with a lot of Irish women. Kirsten says she finds this both comforting and exasperating.

At least I can afford to go,’ Kirsten says. She is trying to console them both. ‘At least I’m not ordering pills online.’

The day of the appointment, Emily drafts a couple of messages, but nothing comes out right. ‘Good luck with the abortion’? In the end she sends Thinking of you with a couple of Xs, hating its Hallmark stupidity. Kirsten doesn’t respond.




Emily goes shopping for a present for Kirsten, even though since their teens they have ignored each other for birthdays and Christmases. It is hard enough to share; it’s too much to ask that they exchange gifts too. But Emily feels compelled to mark this milestone. After all, if she was having the baby she’d be showered in gifts; she’d be rewarded left and right.

Emily resolves to buy something that Kirsten herself might choose, rather than something Kirsten should like. The thought makes her feel benevolent. No fat luxury candles in scents like French Linen Water and Pomegranate Noir. No glittery clutches. No long, lush Burberry scarves.

She winds up at a punk-rock boutique in the touristy part of town. The windows display the kind of distressed grungy T-shirts and skin-tight pants that make up Kirsten’s uniform. She picks out a top she thinks Kirsten might like. It is a jumper made for curling up on the couch and rueing your choices: black, slouchy, open-stitched. There are mirrors on opposing walls of the changing room, repeating Emily’s image into the distance; they make of her twins, triplets, octuplets. She buys the jumper and wears it out the door. It fits her like a second skin.

She is walking down the street when a male voice calls out to her. She pivots and it’s Leo, with his lean gait, floppy hair and broad smile. He has an air of puppyish acquiescence that sometimes makes her wonder if he’s gay, or at least flexible. She wonders why he’s smiling when they’ve just broken up, and realises that he uses smiles the way most people use glares: as armour.

‘It’s Emily actually. Don’t worry, it happens all the time.’

His smile falters a little. ‘Ah, you’re the twin. Always wanted to meet you, but Kirsten . . .’

He shrugs apologetically. They’ve been introduced before, but she makes herself smile.

‘I’ve been worried about Kirst actually,’ he says. ‘I don’t suppose you have the time?’

They go for a pint. She tells herself she’s there for Kirsten. Strictly a fact-finding mission. She orders the same hoppy IPA as him. Foam sluices down the side of the glass to soak into the coaster. She blows a hole in the pint’s head like it’s a cappuccino.

He smiles painfully. ‘Kirsten does that same exact thing.’

He asks politely after her work and living arrangements. He asks if she’s streaming anything good. Whether she and Kirsten are close. Emily chooses tact over honesty.

The first pint downed, he gets down to business. Kirsten has been pushing him away, not letting him touch her, refusing to talk. He only left in the end to give her space; he was out of other ideas. He is back living with his folks now, way out in the suburbs. Emily makes sympathetic faces but says little.

‘I get it,’ Leo says. ‘You’re not going to betray her confidence.’

‘She hasn’t been responding to my messages either,’ she finds herself admitting. She figures Kirsten is laying low after England, but in truth she doesn’t know.

It’s lashing as they’re leaving. Kirsten’s place is just around the corner, and Emily suggests they call up to her. There is a flash of pure alarm on Leo’s face, but the IPA emboldens him. They buzz up but there’s no answer. Emily lets herself in with her spare key, Leo having dutifully left his on the kitchen table when he moved out.

Kirsten is not home. In fact, the place looks untouched since Emily was last here. The discs of the critically acclaimed sci-fi series still spew in an arc over the glass coffee table.

‘She must be home with Dad for a few days,’ Emily decides.

She hears herself suggest a nightcap. She thinks: people only use the word nightcap as a code word for sex. Leo hovers awkwardly in the kitchen. He goes to lean on the counter, then thinks better of it. He does not look like someone who, up to two weeks ago, was a resident. He sneezes violently, four or five times in quick succession. The force of each sneeze buffets him around the tiny kitchen.

‘Feckin’ rain,’ he says. ‘I only have to look at a shower and I’m bollixed.’

She suggests that he sit and he does, stretching out damply on the couch, wet hair sticking to his forehead. She boils the kettle and makes tea for herself, a hot whiskey for him. One of the cloves comes loose from the lemon slice and free-floats through the glass like a dead fly. She suggests that he crash for the night – save him the long taxi ride back out to the suburbs. Kirsten wouldn’t mind, she says.

He looks doubtful, but he takes the hot whiskey gratefully. Then comes the flood of complaints. Kirsten is always right – about everything. People, politics, relationships. When you try to challenge her, she feints, brilliantly. She accuses you of not listening. She says things like There are studies and she cites figures and you have no idea if she’s right or just bullshitting with great conviction.

He looks at Emily as if she’s supposed to know all this, as if she’s accountable.

By the fourth whiskey they are kissing, there on the couch. She feels lit up inside, in the parts she usually takes care of herself. She imagines herself to the corner of the room, watching herself and Leo fuck. He’s practised, she thinks – he’s used to this body. Her body. And she is, somehow, used to him. When he comes moaning the other name, she doesn’t even mind.




Ursula and Sabina Eriksson (b. 1967) are Swedish twins who came to international attention in 2008 when they suffered an episode of shared psychosis. While en route from Liverpool to London, the twins caused a disturbance on their coach and were asked to disembark. They subsequently ran across the busy motorway several times, jumping into the path of traffic. Ursula’s legs were crushed and Sabina suffered head injuries. Ursula was hospitalised, while Sabina refused medical treatment and attacked a police officer. She was arrested but not charged. Hours after being released, Sabina stabbed a man to death with a kitchen knife. She was sentenced to five years in prison and was released on parole in 2011.




Emily wants to hear from Leo more than she wants to hear from Kirsten. She has never done anything this despicable in her life, and she is strangely proud. Even if Leo won’t sleep with her again, she wants to discuss their guilt over pints, revel in the delicious torture of it. That might be even better than sex.

She does not hear from Kirsten.

There is a small white spot cresting on the right side of her chin. She has been eating a lot of crap lately. She has always been more prone to breakouts than Kirsten. She wonders whether Leo will notice this. Maybe not. There is no face more familiar than one’s own.

She does not hear from Leo.




‘I kept poking her online,’ Emily tells the group. ‘I know she saw the messages, because those little check marks came up. But she wasn’t responding.’

‘Harsh of her to ignore you,’ says Graham. She does not tell the group about Leo, but maybe she should, since Graham is developing a crush on her. He is the only one who ever takes home the missing person posters from the refreshments table.

After the meeting, she stops by the house she grew up in. She is deliberately vague when she talks to her father; she’s not sure if Kirsten told him about England. Her dad puts milk in a jug and biscuits on a plate. It makes her sad; she is a fancy visitor now.

He hasn’t heard from Kirsten, either, but he’s unperturbed.

‘Ah, you two were always chalk and cheese. It’d be unusual for you not to check in for a few days, all right.’

‘But I called to her flat. She’s not there.’

He shrugs. ‘Kirsten comes and goes. That’s how it’s always been. She just has a different temperament to you, love. You know, like how she’s a night owl and you’re an early bird. Ye’re polar opposites. She’s well able to take care of herself, don’t be worrying about her.’

Emily bristles. Kirsten takes after their mother, she knows. She suspects that’s why their father loves Kirsten more, and also why he keeps his distance.

‘We have to go to the guards,’ Emily insists. ‘Look, I made these posters and all.’

Her father studies them. Girl missing. ‘Emily, this is a picture of you.’

‘I didn’t have any of Kirsten. Well, not any that were hi-res enough. What does it matter? We look the same.’

He studies her, hard. ‘Have you thought about going back into therapy? I think it’d be really good for you.’

She tastes humiliation. ‘This isn’t about me, it’s about Kirsten. I keep telling you, we have to go to the guards.’

Her father folds the poster crisply. ‘Let me handle all that, Em. Don’t you worry. You need to focus on getting well.’

Emily is so angry she’s close to tears. ‘How can you be so fucking casual about your own daughter? Don’t you even care?’

He looks stricken. The edges of his mouth tremble, and it’s a portal to his future, elderly self. She looks away.

‘But I do care, Emily,’ he says as she turns to go. ‘Can you not see that?’




The guard on the phone sounds bored as she takes down Kirsten’s details. Emily wants a bit more urgency from her, a sense of emergency, but she supposes this is in their training, to seem calm, even to the point of disinterest.

When was your last contact with your sister?

Retrace your steps.

Do you have any recent photographs?

Emily scours her social media for photographs of Kirsten. She is sad to realise that there aren’t any of the two of them together. Worse – Kirsten’s profile has gone dark. Emily tries logging in to reactivate the account, thinking that maybe Kirsten has left an electronic trail, just for her. She thinks, wildly, that they might have the same password.

‘She was pregnant,’ Emily tells the guards. ‘She went to London for a termination. She’s probably still there. Or maybe she changed her mind at the last minute?’

She gives them the name of the clinic. The guards say they’ll check her credit cards, her phone records, her email. They ask for other details that Emily is unable to give.

She calls Leo, over and over, but he never picks up. It crosses her mind that they are both off somewhere hot and sandy, laughing at her. Or worse – Kirsten has gone to find their mother, like they always planned on doing. Kirsten has gone without her.

The Gardai tell her they will liaise with their colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service. They will monitor CCTV footage for a woman matching Kirsten’s description.

Emily offers to star in a reconstruction video for them. She tells them she is completely at their disposal. She thinks later that maybe she shouldn’t have used the word star.




‘You’d think it would make it easier, looking exactly like her,’ Emily complains to the group. ‘But people think you’re having them on.’ Have you seen my missing twin sister? She’s identical to me, right down to the fingerprints.

She attracts stares at the photocopy place when she goes to make more posters. Her face is noisily fed onto the plastic copier tray, over and over. A woman audibly tuts when she sees them, as if Emily is playing an elaborate prank.

How would you feel, she wants to ask, if half your DNA was out there, scattered to the wind?




She has to distance herself from the girl in the photos, so she goes to the hairdresser’s. All her life she has ducked and dived, changing her hair every couple of months, the one part of her appearance that’s under her control. Kirsten keeps hers natural – long and dark – but occasionally talks wistfully of getting a pixie cut. Emily sits in the salon chair and leaves an hour later with a neat brown cap of hair.

She goes to Kirsten’s flat, still in the same disarray as the night that she and Leo had sex. There is the bottle of whiskey she used to fix Leo a drink. There is her forgotten cup of tea, the milk scummed over the surface. She pours the tea down the sink and brings the stinking bin bags out to the skip behind the building. She slips the bottle of whiskey into her bag.

She rifles through Kirsten’s desk drawers, finds Post-its, markers, knotted cables, birthday cards. There is a stack of information about unplanned pregnancy. They give you a lot of leaflets. In the middle of them all is a flyer about a clinic escort service. The Buffer Squad, they call themselves. Kirsten has the UK phone number circled several times, as though leaning hard on the biro. Emily dials the number, then hangs up. It will be better to go in person.




June and Jennifer Gibbons (b. 1963) were identical twins, born in Barbados and brought up in Wales. After experiencing racist bullying at school, they began speaking only to each other, developing a high-speed patois that was unintelligible to others. They became writers, self-publishing novels entitled Pepsi-Cola Addict and Discomania. When these were unsuccessful, the girls turned to crime in a bid for recognition. After being charged with arson, they were committed to Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, where they remained for fourteen years.

The twins made a pact that if one of them died, the other would resume communication with others and return to a normal life. Jennifer eventually agreed to be the sacrifice. In 1993, the twins were transferred from Broadmoor to another facility, and Jennifer was unconscious on arrival. She died soon after in hospital from inflammation of the heart. There was no evidence of drugs in her system, and cause of death has never been explained.




Retrace your steps. She books a Ryanair flight, packs a bag, brings the sheaf of leaflets. The city she lands in feels oddly familiar – like home, actually – though she hasn’t been here in years, not since their dad brought them on a shopping trip for their joint twenty-first. She ghosts through the streets, eyes peeled for her sister. She wonders if she might be able to sense her, beyond the normal emotional spectrum, then discards the notion. She walks past the clinic that Kirsten chose, wondering if she’s brave enough to go in, to shoulder past the tight ring of protesters shouting Please don’t kill your baby. Emily keeps walking.




‘What’s this, now?’ Front-of-house at the women’s health centre is a woman in her sixties with a suspicious expression. ‘Can we talk outside, I’m dying for a smoke.’

They lean against the front of the building. A red open-top tourist bus passes by, trailing the hyena titters of a group of teenage girls. The receptionist offers Emily a cigarette, which she declines.

‘My sister was here,’ Emily tells her. ‘I think she used your service. The Buffer Squad?’

The receptionist nods, exhales. ‘We get them in past the Jesus loopers, yeah. Straight in the front door of the clinic. Or “the house of death”, as the loopers call it.’

‘I’m just wondering do you remember Kirsten? She’s been missing and . . . anything, anything at all could help.’

‘You a detective?’


The receptionist laughs at that. ‘Sweetheart, I have Irish girls streaming through here every day of the week. All of ’em with sob stories and long scared faces. All of ’em with names like calamities, seems to me. Floods, Fureys, Cannons. We don’t exactly keep records. Do you have a picture?’

‘She looked like me.’

‘Can you be more specific?’

‘She’s my identical twin.’

The receptionist scrutinises her face. ‘You do look familiar. I think I remember you.’

‘Not me, my –’

‘What was this you called her? Kristy?’


‘I remember a girl like you, alright. Ah yeah. A bit more punk-rock though, wasn’t she?’

Nervous energy surges through Emily. ‘That’s her.’

‘I remember now because we had a discussion about telephones. She asked if she could use the landline, her phone was dead, and I said isn’t it funny, we don’t even call them mobiles anymore. When did that happen? When did we start calling the phone the landline?’

Emily’s heart is pounding. ‘Did she tell you who she was ringing?’

The receptionist smokes, ruminates. ‘Sorry, lovey, I can’t remember. But I remember her. I could’ve sworn her name wasn’t Kirsten, though. I think she said it was Emily.’




Emily asks if she too can use the landline. She may as well. Two numbers spring to mind: Leo’s and her father’s. She dials her father’s number, unchanged for twenty years. As she does so, she wonders why her mother never calls. It is easily done.

Her father’s voice is tired and brokenhearted. He begs her to come home. He says: I can’t lose you too.

‘I should have put a stop to it,’ he says. ‘After your mother left, Kirsten helped. I thought there was no harm in it. I never thought it’d come to this, I never thought you’d have trouble letting go . . .’

Emily stares down the receiver. ‘Dad, what are you talking about?’

He pauses. ‘Nothing, sweetheart. Nothing at all. Just come home.’




Kirsten is near, Emily can feel it. All she can do now is paper the neighbourhood, get the word out there that Kirsten is missing. Have you seen this girl?

She starts at ground zero, the neighbourhood where the clinic is located. She works her way down the road, tagging every streetlamp, getting the occasional toot from passing cars. She looks down the street, at her face replicating itself on each lamppost; it takes her back to the mirrored changing room, where she tried on a gift for her sister.

Now the multiple Emilys repeat off into the distance behind her, tracking her progress. She has been staring at these faces so long that they no longer seem to correspond to her own. There is something scathing about their pixelated eyes, smudged from the quick print job. They seem to know something she doesn’t.


Photograph © Jonathan Gross

Eimear Ryan

Eimear Ryan's stories have appeared in the Dublin Review, gorse, the Stinging Fly, and the anthologies Town & Country (Faber) and The Long Gaze Back (New Island). She is co-editor of the literary journal Banshee. She lives in Cork.

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