STORIES WE NEVER TOLD.
It was there. The feeling was always there. You and I did never make it to tell, but it was there, ever there. We lived the life of a lie, covering up our tracks, and then making others. We would wash the rain of our mistakes with a little smile, and then the rain would fall again. It was there, always there like a peeping Tom.
We met in the dark, you and I. And we took each other with the affinity of the moon to the stars. For eternity we kept each other in the dark, hedging, and hiding behind the façades of our love. We were pretty adept at it. Each with an act to play, a piece to fill for the lie of the peace in our hearts. The sacrifices, the times, the smiles we shared. They are all over now, like water under the bridges. They are over, all am left with is a dream, and a smile for the times.
I struggle every other morning to wake up. I was always the lazy one of us. Every time the sun rises in my eyes, I think of you riding it. Sometimes I smile, take a little deep breath like you taught me to, wipe the tears or force them back into their pockets. Inside I hurt, but the world shouldn’t see, so I smile to all that meet me, and within I keep asking if at all they know what I go through. The tortures that scar my heart, the struggle that is life without it. It was always there.
And it came, when the least we could do was expect it. We always knew it was there, it had taken so many. But I guess you had waited upon it for life, because it was final jeopardy. All the words were lost in that one brief instance, when you crossed the bridge and it was closed to me. I hope I did not show my fear for the waters, but `it` was not fair at all, it never let you see the dawn of your work, the cement of your dreams.
And I raced against time, against hope, against you. But like usual you beat me to the tape. While I struggled with the fight, shed tears for the world to shame me, you floated on the bliss of the other side, and you wouldn’t answer the silent cry of my anguish. You wouldn’t hold my hand as you always did, you wouldn’t smile to wish away the tears and the trepidation in my heart, and you wouldn’t be there. `It` had taken you in its chariot.
And the news crossed the ridges like fire to grass. It stoked the embers of every gossip across town. It built legend out of your name, venerated the strides you had made in life. And `it` was cursed. It made people, old men, cry openly without shame. And they held my hands in theirs, hugged me a little, and asked me why I shed no tears. I told them I was happy, happy for you. Happy that you had been and left. But in your wake was a trail of smiles, and risen hopes, awakened dreams.
Some prayed, cursed `it` in their sleep and wake. Some said we were cursed. Like doctors they came up with remedies ad infinitum. The zealots brought preachers and pastors. The old men formed of enquiries into the history of `it` in our family. You had taken the high road just like the other elder one. While the courage was lost to say, I saved my heart for the last of the initiations, for the knife that would cut through it when I chose to cry.
I think we lost the fight, that one fight, but we never did lose the war. The weak ones broke like twigs to fire. They wondered how I had the brazen guts to smile in `its` wake. They advised me to see a counselor, gave me business cards and contacts like it was a pizza date. And I smiled within, said a silent `thanks` for the pleasure of their ears, and the raising of their hopes, swayed my head to the right and the left, thought hard within, and called their bluffs silently in the veins of my heart.
`It was just it, ` `it` is so usual across the world, it is universal. But the men and women of the ridges thought not so. While here in my learned sense I stuck to the guts of normalcy, to just but slow down the grip and rip of grief within me. I shrunk my feelings to a ball, tightened my fist into the depths of my pockets, and rode the wind as you wanted me to. But within was always the fear, the silent nag that `it` was, is, after me too. But when it comes, like you I will be ready, `it ‘might take me, but it won’t beat me, not if I have anything to say to `it`.
The final journey was tough. We congregated and prayed, hoping that all would go well. They dug into their pockets, and gave for you what they couldn’t give to you when `it` had not come yet. They offered to do, for you, what would never cross their brains had you asked. They came in their droves, the men and women of the ridges. In prados and proboxes, motorcycles and on foot. They all crossed the treacherous stones to the gates, balancing what they had to grief for you. And they all cried when they saw the picture I had of you at the door, smiling even across the bridge. It made them cry, again. They couldn’t take the flash of white teeth without closing their eyes.
They gave their all to remember you, chose a date when they would sink you to the backdrop of their brains and move on with life. They hoped they would be selected to give the final speeches. They spoke among themselves, competed in tiny little ways how to please you. I prayed that ‘it` would come for them too. It wasn’t fair for the good to go with it, and the rest of the vile to trudge along. They made the mood, destroyed it to say. While here I tried to sink my teeth into the happiness of your being, the days so lost now, they reminded me of every piece of torture they had taken you through, in their hearts they had made you, in mine I hoped you agreed with me, their greed had scarred you.
But this is a story I would never tell, the story of you and i. `it` is no big secret. It made the papers, but hardly did anyone read it. They were fixated with what Donald Trump had to say. But within me, you still are famous. `It` didn’t really take you, it brought your wisdom to my sight, it immortalized you. As you always said, `death is never final; it is the life that is. `
I can’t hold your hands anymore as I want to. I can’t throw an insult through the curtain as I want to when am angry. I can’t even talk about you without feeling guilty of the stories we never told. I can’t, I can’t. It was it, and it is as it is. It took you, and it will always be there, it is it.
In loving memory of my departed brother, gone one year now.