He asked me for some money. Not a lot, but enough to make me angry. Dad always said that he was up to no good. I didn’t want to listen to his reasons or excuses. Just told him a flat “no”. He didn’t argue.
“That’s okay bro. No problem. I just stopped by to see you. I am tickled pink that you are doing so well.” We looked at each other, I with an air of superiority and he, just a simpleton of a brother that I couldn’t tolerate to have around.
He was a couple of years younger than me. We were brothers but we were more than that. We were friends, until he signed up to go to war. He came back a changed man. Couldn’t hold a job. Didn’t bother eating the right kind of food. Started losing weight and thought I would hold his hand and lead him the way. I had my own life, my career, my stand in the society. I was always a fighter; always wanted to do things my way, and didn’t tolerate interference.
He went away after an hour or so. Said he was returning to Kansas. I didn’t ask him what he wanted the money for. Didn’t ask him to stay and spend the night in his old room. He went away. I let him go!
Two months later I had forgotten that he had come by and had asked for some money. I was too busy. I was making a life for myself and doing it well. In these two months, my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus, and had died in the hospital.
I received the call from the nurses at the hospital. He had named me as the only surviving relative. Somewhere from the deep crevices of my brain, I heard a scream that sounded like a growl of a hunted animal. I had always protected him and fought for him. My mask of menace and hostility was unraveling and I found myself on the floor, holding on to my stomach.
I kept hearing my own voice over and over again in the catacombs of my brain. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Take this money, I have no use for it now. Please come back to me!”
“Forgive me, forgive me, please forgive me.”
“There is a hole in my life and only you can fill.”
“You are gone now, and I cannot forgive myself. I want you here my brother, the longing is like an unending prairie, thirsty and hungry for your love.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me that you needed the money for treatment? I would have given you my life. “
All I now have is the cacophony in my brain like a metronome, hurting me, hating me, lynching me over and over and over again.
Zakiah Sayeed October 9th 2015 (A fiction)