Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Call


I wasn't surprised to hear the phone ring. 
But I was surprised to see the name that popped up on the screen. 
He hadn't called... not since.. well. 

I took the call. 

'Hey', a tired voice breathed from the other end. 

'Hey... how are you?'

'I'm... I'm ok.' 

'You sure?'

'No.' 

The answer made me curious. I had never heard him speak in such assertive tones before. 

'So... what happened?'

'Well... I recently had a few tests done. I had a pretty nasty bout of fever and...'

'And?'

'Well a few of the results seem to have shocked my doctor. I'd like for you to take a look.'

'Yeah sure. Anytime.'

'I'll Whatsapp it over.'

'I did not realize that you were so...conscious about your health.'

'Well someone has to... and it's not like anyone's there to... you know...after what happened...'

I could hear his voice breaking, trailing off. 

'How's the business?', I asked, changing the topic quickly. 

Bad topic, I thought, a few minutes late. 

'Much better. I got what I wished for. And I hate it here now.'

Now I couldn't say I sympathized with him regarding this. That was the extent of the issues he had created. But... he was my brother. And a pained one at that.

'Listen...I'll call you la...' 
I didn't let him complete,cutting in. 

'Hold up. You listen to me. Stop this lone man act.'

'What? Why? I'm perfectly comfortable the way I am now.'

'No you are not. The man I knew, the brother I grew up with, he would have cracked ten lame jokes in these few minutes we got.'

'Don't get worked up man. This is... this is the new me. The old me is gone.'

'No! I refuse to accept that. I know you're in there. I know that...' she trailed off, her voice thick from all the emotion running through her. 

'We both lost parents in that accident. Not only me. So for them atleast, don't be like this.'

'It wasn't your fault'
His voice was so low, I almost didnt hear him say it. 

'What?', I asked, surprised. 

'It wasn't your fault that they died.'

'And it was yours?', I asked.

'Yes.'

'In what way? You're just blaming yourself for things that isn't even true.'

'I know it. It was all that I said... my words...my actions. It drove them over the edge.'

'It did not man.'

'It did. I was a failure. I still am. Just that no ones around to judge me, correct me. I have no social life. My friends left me. My wife is distant and cheating on me with someone whom I called my best friend.' He paused to take a breath. 

And I took the opportunity. 
'That is not your fault. None of those are. A car came and hit theirs. They did not drive into it. And You.Are.Not.A.Failure. Look at you running the businesses successfully. Your friends were all the friend versions of gold diggers. Papa and Mummy did warn you earlier. And your wife. Bah. I warned you that she was the wrong choice for you. But you were adamant. Now stop moping around, get off your ass and grow the empire. It's what Papa and Mummy would have wanted you to do. I know it, even our sister knows it.'

He was silent. 

'Bro?'

'I'm here.'

'And?'

'Thank you. I needed that. I've sent the report. I'll call soon.'

And that was the last I heard of him for a few weeks. 

The next time, he did not call. He came in his car. He brought our sister along. And we went to our favorite fast food burger place. 

'I'm divorcing her' he told in my ear, out of earshot of her. 

I just smiled at him. 

'You were right. I was wrong. God that eats me up from the insides'
And I watched as a genuine laugh formed at his mouth. So, I joined in. So did she. 

He was happy. And by extension, so was I. And we all were, at that moment. 

Now if only they were here to see it. 


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