The fourth letter of the alphabet is about Alice’s brother Daniel. This is the fourth of 26 short stories – 250 words or fewer - about Alice’s life and times.
It is often the case that the middle child of three of the same gender differs from the first and third. So it was with Daniel. Charles and Edward were broad-shouldered, with light brown hair and hazel eyes, like their father. Daniel’s eyes were cornflower blue and he was more finely built than his brothers. Alice’s eyes were the same colour as his and she too had high cheekbones like their mother.
Daniel was a serious little boy and grew into a thoughtful, quiet young man. He wanted to be an accountant and studied hard, attending evening classes to gain the necessary qualifications. He was the brother Alice took her troubles to. He mended her toys and dried her tears and sat with her while she practised her piano scales.
When she wanted respite from the rough and tumble of games with Edward she sought refuge on Daniel’s lap and listened to the wireless. She was intrigued by the squeals and hisses it made as Daniel searched for different stations. The staccato bursts of music, the crackles of signals that could not quite be tuned and the voices of broadcasters speaking unfamiliar languages made a kaleidoscope of sound that comforted Alice and made her feel she was a part of the wider world.
In 1938, when Alice was six, Daniel shyly introduced his girl-friend to the family. Alice’s mother worried that her daughter would be upset by this new, important person in Daniel’s life but Alice took to Ruth immediately.