Helen and I were friends since we were babies. Our moms were best friends since high school and in turn we became friends from birth. She was an only child and so was I, so having a sister like her was something I was lucky to have. There was just one issue. I was like her brother. Mom found out she was going to have a son when she was just 4 weeks pregnant for me. Although Mom was overjoyed, Dad was a little angry at having a son. Mom never told me why but maybe I was not meant to be good luck to my father’s family.
“Jason, come on. We have to be at the station at least five minutes before the departure time. Otherwise we’d be late. Come on!” Helen supported me no matter what. I tried to push her away and not tell her much about my feelings, but every time I did that she still surprised me with her sisterly affection. “Alright, I’m coming. Keep your hair on.” She burst out laughing at me and then immediately, as if there was no trace of a smile, she was serious. We behaved and teased each other as if we were biologically brother and sister, but unfortunately that was the opposite. As I got to know her, I loved her more and I didn’t want to be separated from her. She made me feel worthy of being who I was. If I was bullied, she would stand up for me and I would for her. However, as we grew into adults the insults and accusations became worse. Wherever we went, people kept saying that we were living a lie and that I was just possessing her due to my controlling passions for her. All of these words weren’t true, but I could sense that when I tried to hug her or tickle her she would stand a little away from me.
I became hurt by this. Helen wouldn’t believe anything those horrible said, but maybe she did think that I was secretly in love her and that was why I kept being close to her. She was my sister and I loved her only as any brother would. I hoped that she could see that in my heart. “Helen…do you think that this outfit will look good on me? I feel that it makes me look completely…unnatural.” She hates it when I complain about wearing clothing that she suggests. The truth is I didn’t feel comfortable in wearing her type of style, which was mainly skinny jeans and tank tops. I was more a track pants and jacket kind of person. But Helen chose what she liked, so I chose what I liked. “Jason, it doesn’t have to be worn like that. Here wear this and keep the jeans on, you’ll see how the girls will come to you.” The girls she pointed at reminded me of the same ones who picked on me. The type who sat in groups of either three or four, and commented on each other’s nails, makeup and which boy they were going to date next summer. I reluctantly changed and Helen was right, those same girls did notice me. However, I chose to ignore them. The abuse was still fresh in my mind and I couldn’t even look at the individual any other way.
We finally arrived at Mom’s house. The train was three days long and I was beyond tired, all I wanted was to see my mom and hear how she was feeling. It had been half a year that I hadn’t seen her, mainly since Helen and I worked away from home. Her mother passed away when she was only 5 years old, and since then we grew up together. “Mom, we’re home!” Mom had lost her voice but whenever I called out to her, she always had a way of responding to me. This time she tapped, with what sounded like a stick, on the bedroom floor. Helen was nowhere to be found, so I climbed the stairs to Mom’s bedroom. Her face immediately lit up when she seen me enter the room. Mom had neurocancer for a month and the doctors couldn’t find a way to cure her from it. Eventually, her body gave in and she succumbed to numerous problems, one of them was that she lost her voice and her ability to move around. She could still eat, breathe, see, hear and write but I still felt that she was incapable of living on her own. As I hugged her, I felt Mom’s weakness in her hug. When I was little Mom always waited for me with a warm and protective hug, when she picked me up from school. But the hug she gave me now was not the same and this saddened me. Mom was dying the more I seen her.
“Hi, Mom!” Helen ran in and hugged Mom. She was also saddened by Mom’s hug, as she remembered when Mom used to comfort her whenever she felt down. “Mom, how are you?” Mom just managed to form a smile on her face and this made me think that perhaps I shouldn’t lose hope for her recovery just yet. “I have something I want to tell both you and Jason…I have a boyfriend. He is so sweet and he just makes me feel like the only girl in the world. I love him so much ad he loves me too.” I smiled at her as a sign of my happiness for her, but Mom had a stern expression on her face. She immediately grabbed a pen and paper, which I hadn’t noticed when I walked into the room, from her bedside table. After some scribbling from the pen, she showed us what she wrote: What is his name? “Harold. Right, Helen?” She beamed at my response and nodded her head at me. Mom then began to write another response. What does he love about you, Helen? This question was quite surprising to us.
Did Mom know something about that we didn’t? Her words feared me. I was worried what Helen might say. What if he didn’t genuinely love Helen, instead he just used her as a pawn and because she was kind-hearted? “He said I have a warm touch and gentle soul. He loves how the whole world lights up with just my smile. Oh Mom, I wish you could meet him.” Helen was more dreaming about him than actually asking Mom’s question.
I know this boy. And I think you should stay away from him. Helen, he isn’t good for you. Please understand, darling. Helen became furious at Mom’s warning and she hurried out of the room. I turned to Mom and tried to see why she wrote that to Helen. Her expression showed anger and hurt. “Mom, who exactly is Harry? How do you know him? What aren’t you telling us?” She looked at me with concern and after a deep sigh, she wrote her explanation on a new page.