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Fiction Sad Drama

It rained heavily the day father died. I can still remember that day, vividly. I can still see his face and feel his stubbly cheeks. I still remember his smile. His broad smile, like he hadn't a problem in the world. The last time he smiled at me-at us, was when he bent over us and promised my brother, Justin, and me that he would take us on vacation in Paris immediately he got back from his trip. We were overjoyed. Our little hearts danced for Joy and we felt butterflies in our stomach. He placed his large hand on my shoulder and kissed me on my forehead, his other hand clutching his briefcase tightly to his side, he grinned and did the same to my brother.

"See you later boys... I'll be back" he had said waving and walked out the door to meet mother. Justin was eight years old and I, ten. We stood side by side in the verandah, watching as father got into his car, waving happily at him until all we could see was the settling of the dust his car had stirred up as he sped out of our gigantic gates. He was gone.

The day was bright. A happy day it was. And so it felt right when we asked mother if we could go play at Jim's house. She obliged.


We went out, riding on our bikes to play with Jim- our next door neighbor and told him about the holiday vacation our father promised us. Jim was rather jealous when we told him and said all the bad things he could think of, about Paris to dissuade us from going. But we ignored him. We didn't care. We just wanted to see and climb the Eiffel tower and not read about it in books.


Jim brought out his chess board and started arranging the pieces on it. He had a smirk on his face for a moment before he wiped his brow with a dirty handkerchief and said:


"Who wants to go first?"


I sat huddled up in a corner, half-reading some comics while my brother battled him. Jim was two years older than me and had also been playing chess long before we started, so neither of us really stood a chance against him. But each time we played him, we caught a few of his tricks. We became better and he knew this.


Jim had just checkmated my brother when we heard a loud rumbling noise-thunder! Justin glanced back over his shoulder. Our eyes met. We knew the rules. Mother had always warned us to be home before the rain started. Jim made a sad face. He knew the rules too. But he wasn't particularly satisfied with beating only one chess-novice-brother.


Dark clouds had gathered by the time we got outside. The sun had disappeared. The day had become gloomy, in an instant. We got on our bikes with the wind swaying our loose clothing left and right. We got into our residence just before the rain started, our thighs aching from the cycling. We felt cold and hungry.


"Mom" Justin called out loudly, over the rain that had just begun to hammer the roof loudly.


There was no answer.


We went into the living room. And then we found her, but in a most despicable state. I could say that I have never seen mother with such an expression before. She had a telephone in her hand, a most fearful contortion on her face. She looked like she had seen a ghost. A tear ran down her left cheek when she saw us.


"Matt...Justin...my darlings." She said, almost in a whisper, her once painted lips now dry and bleeding. She had bitten painfully into them.


"Mom?," I frowned, trying to show concern, the way I've seen most elderly people do.

"Ar-Are you alright?" I stammered.


She smiled. A sad smile


"Come...you both" she replaced the phone and opened her arms as she collected us both.


"Mom?...what happened?" Justin asked shakily, as I balanced my head perfectly on her soft belly.


"Boys..." her voice shook and it made me look at her face. I saw her lips quiver.

"Your father...your father is dead."


I lifted my face to meet Justin's. His face had suddenly become cloudy. We stared at each other for a moment as if we didn't understand the meaning of "dead". But we knew. We knew what it meant. We had heard of other people's dad being dead but No! Our Dad wasn't other people's Dad. He was our Dad. He was special. And special people don't die, at least not in this manner. I- we didn't even get to say goobye. We didn't get to say a proper goodbye.


"But he said he will come back!" Justin shouted amidst sobs. I squeezed his arm lightly as I fought back tears. But they couldn't hold. They came unrestrained in thick droplets, showering my plum cheeks.


Mother tried to speak but no words came out. She appeared weak. She staggered away from us before she collapsed, her buttocks making a dull thud when they hit the floor.


"Mother?" There was a crack in my voice. I looked around half- hoping to catch father, smiling broadly and then walking up to tell us that he never left. That he could never leave. Not now. That it had all been a bad ugly dream. 

I sat swiftly beside mother, my little hands fondling her wet cheeks. Her eyes were opened. I peered into them. They were lifeless but she was still breathing and just staring. She had a distant look as if her spirit had travelled out far from her.


"Mother!" I called again, my little eyes darkened with terror.

I shook her. She didn't answer. She just stared on. Then her lips made some movement as if she desired to speak. But she didn't. She couldn't.

She never spoke again.

***

Everywhere is silent, except for the annoying sqeak the ceiling fan above makes as it rotates. The television is on but mute and no one is watching, other than a few faces that stare blankly at the noiseless moving pictures. Everyone's face is mostly expressionless and empty but their ears are perked up, alert, waiting eagerly for the Doctor's next call. I sit, perched upon the edge of a bench. There is a woman beside me, with a baby. She smiles widely at the little creature, tickling him lightly under his arms, but he's not yielding. He's looking at me, his mouth apart. I stare at him- my face far from laughter. Probably he's not used to seeing people not smiling at him. His mother, still tickling traces his gaze and almost meet mine but I turn my face away and rest my eyes on a nurse in the far corner of the room. She's sorting some files and entering some information into the computer system placed delicately in front of her. The system obstructs my view such that I cannot see her face properly. I shift a little to get a good view of her face, half of my buttocks leaving the bench. She's beautiful, but not too beautiful. She's not as beautiful as Edna- my fiancee. Our wedding is due in three weeks. I notice the firmness of her breasts in her tight white gown. They move lightly as she sighs. It's obvious she's been working. She's tired. Beads of sweat has formed on the bridge of her nose. If I could just...


"Hey, Matt" a voice said from close behind me jerking me suddenly out of my thoughts and almost making me topple over. It was Edna.


"Careful there... I'm sorry for coming late...I had to drop off a few things at Justin's"


"I- uhm- forgot you were coming." I said smiling casually and refusing to meet her gaze. I usually found it a little difficult to maintain eye contact with people. It was worse with those I fell in love with. I cracked my knuckles and glanced back at where the nurse was. She was gone.


"So- how are you holding up?"


"Erm..." I made to reply but stopped. I saw the bangles on her wrist. I knew them. I recognized them at once. It was Justin's.


"Sorry...you said?"


"I said- how are you doing?" She wasn't looking at me. She was winking at the baby beside me.


"Fine"


Her phone began to ring. She dived into her handbag searching for her phone and murmuring some words under her breath.

"What did you drop off at Justin's place?" I asked calmly, meeting her gaze properly for the first time.


" I- uhm..."


MATTHEW ABDILIAN!

The Doctor's call.


"Yeah... that's me" I said standing up and then turning to Edna. " I'll be back"

She was nervous. She just nodded.


I only had to knock twice in quick succession before the Doctor told me to come in. I went in and walked briskly to sit in the chair opposite the Doctor.


" Mr Abdilian?" He said, in a most dignified manner, his face glued to his laptop screen.


" Oh yes please...just call me Matt"


"Your test results are ready" he said, ignoring me, his face still on the screen.

My throat tightened. My palms became sweaty. I suddenly felt as if I was sitting on hot coal. I had expected the results to be ready but something in his manner told me they were bad. He lifted his face from his laptop to look at me, regarding me for a moment as if wondering how best he could break the contents of the test results to me.


I smiled at him awkwardly, to ease the anxiety. Beads of sweat had begun to form above my lip.


"Mr Abdilian." He began rather gloomily " you are a man. I...er...want you to take this strongly," he said composedly, his fore finger tapping lightly against his laptop.


"I know how hard it must be for you...I have read your files... you've got only your brother and..."


"Just get to it, Doctor" I cut in impatiently, half-snapping. The smile had disappeared. My patience was wearing thin.

He stopped and rested his back on his chair. He closed his laptop and brought out an envelope which he tossed lightly at me.


"Well, the results show you've got cancer. Cancer of the heart."


I swallowed hard. The burning coal sensation had travelled through my body to my head. I was hot, about to explode.


"Cancer?" I asked with a sqeak in my voice. I didn't hear a response. Not that I needed one. The last thing I saw was the Doctor's face smiling broadly, like father. Or maybe I just imagined it. I can't say. My eyes began to blur. Sweat trickled down from my brow into my eyes.


Few seconds later, I passed out.


Twelve years after Dad died, Mom who had mostly been at a sanitarium, barely able to speak, fell ill. Her once nourished cheeks were wrinkled and filled with grief. Her eyeballs were yellow. Her face was pale. I stood by her side, her hands in mine. She smiled and asked of Justin. I smiled back. It was not long before she died, peacefully in her bed, with her hands still in mine. Justin never showed up. He didn't come, not until her funeral.

I wept bitterly on the day of the funeral. I concealed my tear-soaked eyes behind my hideous dark shades. Mother was gentle, kind and loving. She was fragile, or at least her heart was, but Father's passing away had broken that fragile heart into a million pieces. I looked at Justin as I wept, hoping to catch a sad face, at least, but he wasn't sad. His face was blank. He just stood there staring stolidly as she was lowered into her grave. He turned his face towards me, but looked straight past me. For a moment, I thought I saw something odd in his eyes. His eyes that had once been meek were no longer meek. They weren't kind. I began to think that perhaps, I didn't know my brother, not anymore.


The last time I saw Justin was four years ago, on a chilly drizzly September evening when he had stormed out furiously from father's lawyer's office because I was saddled with the responisibility of managing father's company. Though, he had been settled well. He was given father's estate. Still he was upset. He wanted to run the company. He wanted to be in charge of things, directing affairs. But four years is a long time to hold a grudge. Justin and me were now in good terms. But even at that, I barely recognized him. But now I have no choice. I need to take some time off and attend to my health.

As I was in no position to continue to manage the company. I transferred all documents to him. You should have seen the smile that crept up from his face.

***

I had just finished speaking to a friend, and waved down a taxi when I heard my phone beep. I opened the door of the taxi and settled in before reading. It was from a business associate. It read:


Sir, your decision to sell the company has baffled me ever since yesterday. Perhaps, you could give me a call when you see this. Let's figure things out.


I gasped, narrowed my eyes and re- read the text, over and over.


"Sir, are you alright?" The taxi driver inquired, watching me from the mirror.

I ignored him with a wave of my hand.


I called Justin as I got out of the car. It went to voicemail. I was on my way to Edna's apartment. Perhaps, she could help me blow off some steam.


I ran confusedly to the elevator. A young lady walked out. She greeted me. I didn't respond. I stepped into the elevator. I had received other such texts. I plucked off my tie from my neck. The heat was becoming unbearable. I got out at the sixth floor and walked mechanically to her apartment. I didn't bother to knock. Perhaps, I should have, for what I saw broke my already failed heart.


I turned the door knob and saw Edna in the room. She wasn't alone. Justin was with her. He had his hands balanced delicately on her waist, his tongue in her mouth, intense passion burning between them. They didn't see me come in. Not even when I closed the door behind me, staring stupidly and panting noisily. It was as if I didn't exist. Like I wasn't there. They didn't see me.


Not until I had my heart attack.


February 05, 2021 21:56

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12 comments

Niveeidha Palani
12:30 Feb 17, 2021

Didn't see that twist around the corner. ;) There were a couple of places where you needed to separate some paragraphs because a few were pretty long. That's all, and keep it up. :)

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Eddie Thawne
12:46 Feb 17, 2021

Thanks a ton, Niv. Loved the feedback. I hope to write better stories.

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Niveeidha Palani
13:38 Feb 17, 2021

Of course. All writers have plenty of room for improvement, (including me).

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Izzie Q.
13:12 Feb 23, 2021

Woah, the first sentence totally had me hooked and I LOVE CRIME FICTION AHAHA It's a total obsession! Have you ever read the book "to the lions"? It sort of reminded me of this in a way. congrats on a great story! looking forward to reading more, my friend :)

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Eddie Thawne
21:55 Feb 23, 2021

I'm happy to know you love crime fiction. It's my best novel genre.😋 "to the Lions"?...no I haven't read it. Author? And thanks for the compliment. I'll also love to read more from you.

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Izzie Q.
22:29 Feb 23, 2021

mhm! I think the author is Holly Watt? It seemed to have some crime in it but it's been a while since I read it :)

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Eddie Thawne
22:37 Feb 23, 2021

Okay. I'll definitely check it out.

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17:36 Feb 11, 2021

I enjoyed the broken sense of understanding the world that you get from Matt's perspective, and the transformation in Justin from an open and caring child to this hardened, jealous person, and how that calculating nature connects to Chess at the beginning. Here are some notes: At times the setting becomes a bit confusing, For example, in the first paragraph you open with "It rained heavily..." and you assure the reader "I can still remember that day vividly" and then in the next two paragraphs you shift to dust settling as the father's c...

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Eddie Thawne
13:01 Feb 12, 2021

Thanks a lot, Matthew, for the critique. I really appreciate. On reading it again, I see the mistakes which you point out and realize I could have done better. Thanks, once again.

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I love this story so much Eddie. :)

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Eddie Thawne
20:14 Feb 07, 2021

Thank you, Laila

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Of course Eddie!

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