Cheating your loved one is bad, but not always.
|Why is he the favourite? Why? What less am I from that nitwit? I asked these questions to myself zillion times. No, not zillion I guess more. Honestly, I asked them every time my mother hugged him, each time she felt proud holding his school reports or when he would make those useless pictures and cards. Be a man bro!! A good example at handy yet you are that same old nauseating sissy.
The world is going egalitarian and so is my family. My efforts to help him shun his effeminate shenanigans were always misunderstood. “C’mon Dan! Cut it out. Accept him as he is.” Dad would holler at me. Some would pat my back and suggest, “Van is elder to you . Dont forget honey.”
No matter how much I was rebuked for enacting him, my performance was always praised unanimously; my mother and Van applauded too. It was always a hit.
I was the one who would sweat his brow for the woods. Yet he was noticed for offering the warm cup of coffee. And remember that broken couch? It took a full day’s heaving to fix it, make it fit for use. But what did dad notice at the end of the day?
“Look at my V. How nicely he cozied up your sleeping mom with that quilt. She is still asleep.”
Would I call it injustice or blindness?
But I agree on one point. Our mom truly needs rest. Her old bones now need calcium but they crave for affection more. Van can surely offer that but not as much as a girl can. His quilts and warm coffee cannot win him a bride. To do so, you need to change the V to D.
Mom desperately needed someone by her side that day. My virile eyes didn’t see that but his feminine feelings knew it well. He was torn between mother’s attention and brother's chase to win Sabrina. Not sure if I would call myself lucky that he chose the latter that day.
A speedy turn around the corner of the hill road and the next second we brothers were praying for our lives. Teetering precariously on a sturdy branch, Van’s jacket gave both of us hope to live. But how will that softy pull me up?!
He tried with all might to pull up his identical twin brother hanging below. I felt his muscles clench for the first time while lifting me with an amazing ease. And that final yank was a magic; it wasn't a human, as if a storm swept me at the top of the tree branch.
And here I stand now waiting for all the folks to arrive at the hospital. I am wearing Van’s jacket and also his avatar. There is absolutely no doubt that I can fool all those eyes before I can fool my mother. No need of prescription drugs or warm coffee; all she needs today is this cheating.
The first to arrive were my cousins. They didn’t take a moment to console me with a warm hug - that’s what a crying Van always require. I won the first round.
Dad arrived a little later with Sam uncle and his wife. They already got news of his comma before meeting me.
“You did your best sweetheart. Don’t breakdown. Please”, comforted Dad with his hands tightly wrapped around me. I never knew his tough palms could feel so soothing!!
My second round was clear with flying colours.
Within moments, the tiny hospital corridor swarmed with my grieving family and friends. Their sweet words for me were priceless. I was literally moved. Some true tears would have mixed with the fake ones, if Dad hadn’t come to remind me softly, “Time to meet momma. Only you can help her cope.”
The final and the toughest round awaits now.
Ailing since the last 5 years, she is so used to Van’s touch by now. Can I meet the standards? Why is my confidence dropping? Is it because my failure can cost a life?
Years of battle with her failing health has now garnered her the title “terminally ill”. Although I always believed it as an flowery fib; our so much care, especially Van’s, can only result in improvement. It’s just that the doctors needed a term to hide their medical failures.
But Van never thought that way. He knew mom is with us for just a few months. And the saddest part of all is, mom knew it too.
What would I use to hide my failure today? Suddenly, I started to brush up all the subtle nuances of Van’s attitude. I grabbed onto my gloves now - after all my skin cannot imitate his touch.
I entered the room with the exact poise and posture and reached out to her. She was lying on her bed as usual except her pillow soaked with tears. My head landed on her rickety chest as she patted and stroked my back. We both sobbed and both missed Van.
At last, she whispered into my ear, “My son. I never knew how much you loved me. Just carry it on for a few more months. Please”. Like the ending bell of the last round of my act, Dad’s phone rang.
Its from the hospital. Be it feminine but my fingers are crossed tight, my closed eyes are spilling true tears and my ears are dying for good news.