Sunday, 14 July 2013

One should always remember to turn on the light.

Tears leaked down my face as I looked at Aaron standing at the altar in a sharp black tux. He glanced at me and visibly gulped. 
"Mom! The stove! Could you please check that?!" I yelled taking the clothes out of the washer. "MOM!" I yelled. No answer. I rolled my eyes. Who was I kidding? After six months I should just give up. I got up and ran to the kitchen. "Shit!" I swore grabbing a cloth from its peg as I stirred the slightly burning gravy. I gripped the pan and dragged it off the stove. 
"Did you burn it again?" A small voice said from the doorway. I frowned. 
"It can be eaten." I said turning to find the small figure hugging his Batman action figure. He made a face.
"I don't want to eat burnt food." He said looking at me with his big brown eyes. I sighed.
"It's not burnt." I told him bending down in front of him to straighten his jeans.
"It smells like it is." He said blinking at me. I sighed again.
"I'll make you noodles okay? Happy?" I said smiling softly at him. He grinned. I ruffled his hair and he pouted.
"Not the hair, Alex!" He said patting his hair back into place. I laughed.
"Whatever little brother." I spoke.
"Can you help me with my homework?" He asked.
"I have to hang up the laundry and get the groceries first okay?" I said standing up and going towards the basement.
"You always help me. Math sucks." He sniffed.
"I have work too little brother. I'll help you when I'm done." 
"You're always cleaning. I thought you hated cleaning." He said padding along after me.
"Well if I don't who will?" I said quietly.
"Why won't mum leave her room?" He asked me. I sighed.
"She's sad." I said.
"You're sad too, you leave your room." He said. His little feet hurried to keep up with me. I slowed down for him.
"I leave because if I didn't you'd probably eat all the ice cream." I said half-heartedly grinning. I swung down and picked him up. He didn't grin like I expected him to.
"You'd give me all the ice cream anyway so I don't think that's why you leave." He said quietly.
"You're quite smart for a five year old aren't you?" I said softly. He nodded in agreement. I smiled.
"So why don't you stay in your room if you're sad too?" He said.
"Cause of you, little brother." I said honestly for the first time in ages. I had lied too much I realized, 'Yeah I'm okay' or 'Yeah we're coping' and 'Mum is getting better'. 
Aaron patted my head. "I'm too cute to leave behind." He said solemnly. I laughed and he grinned. 
"You're too cheeky." I said, "You need some punishment to straighten you up." I put him down on top of the counter as I continued pulling the clothes out of the washer.
"I'm too cute to punish." He said making his Batman fly.
"I can tickle you to death." I told him. His eyes widened as he realized I very well could. "And Batman can't fly." 
"I know, but why does he wear a cape then?" Aaron asked confused.
"It's bullet proof and helps him balance, little brother." I said taking up the basket and putting it next to Aaron.
"Why do you know that?" He asked grinning at me. I paused. 
"I have no id-" I began but the doorbell rang. "That's probably Uncle Alex right?" I said turning to Aaron who nodded. I helped Aaron down, grabbed the basket and we both ran to the door. I looked through the peek hole and Aaron tapped his feet impatiently. I swung open the door and smiled at the familiar tanned face I was named after. He wasn't really our uncle: my father's best friend actually- but he was as good as.
"There's my favorite girl!" He grinned stepping inside.
"Uncle!" Aaron yelled jumping forward. Uncle caught him as usual and swung him up.
"Oof. You're getting big!" Uncle said falling into our worn out couch. "Would you mind getting me a glass of water?" He said to Aaron who shook his head and ambled towards the kitchen. Uncle immediately turned to me and took out an envelope from his pocket. "I put in extra money so you could get Aaron and yourself some new clothes okay?" 
My cheeks reddened, "You didn't have to. Our clothes are fine." I said. He waved it off. 
"Of course I had to. How's Ariana?" He asked changing the subject. 
"She's still vacantly staring out of the window. She doesn't eat or anything. She just sits in that stupid chair of hers and doesn't do anything. I have to literally put food in her mouth." I said aware that the tiredness was now seeping throughout my demeanor.
"Your father's death was hard on her." He said quietly.
"It was hard on all of us, not just her." I said angrily.
"Here you go Uncle." Aaron spoke entering the room. He passed the glass to Uncle and turned to me. I at once smiled at him, beckoning him to come and sit on my lap. He followed my quiet request. 
"The house looks spotless." Uncle said looking around.
"Alex just finished cleaning. I helped." Aaron said proudly. I ruffled his hair and he pouted.
"And you did good, little brother." I spoke and kissed his cheek. 
"Mum didn't help at all." Aaron frowned. The smile slipped of my face. Uncle frowned too.
"I'm going to go talk to her for a bit." Uncle said.
"No use." I said from experience. He still got up and made his way to her room.
"You want to listen through the door?" Aaron spoke after Uncle had entered her room. I looked at him.
"You're getting too naughty." I said but got up and made my way to her room. I put my ear to the door and began listening. 
"Ariana. Come on. Ariana. Look. At. Me. Ariana!!!" The last word was said in a frustrated tone. No answer. I looked down as Aaron looked up. I wrinkled my nose at him and he wrinkled his back. There was silence at the other end and then Uncle spoke in a quiet voice, "Why don't you jump off the building and make it official that you're dead? So your children don't keep hanging. The least you can do for them." My eyes widened at the cruel words. No answer. I heard him take a harsh breathe. "You're killing them too you know. They've lost enough without you being like this too." No answer. "This is not what Ross would have expected from you. You stopped going to work, you've stopped bathing, talking, eating, Hell you've stopped walking! How much longer are you going to let Alex sponge you off and feed you?! That poor girl has been cooking and cleaning and playing mother to her brother! And for God sakes she's barely sixteen, Ariana!" No answer. "You're not the only one to have lost someone." He spat at her. No answer. I heard Uncle get up and take a step towards the door. I was about to grab Aaron and bolt when he stopped. His voice was low as he said "Actually on the plus you only lost your husband, they've managed to lose Both their parents." He began walking towards the door.
My now shaky hands gripped Aaron's shoulders and began to drag him away when a hoarse muffled voice spoke, "It hurts too much. I can't... Move." 
My hands slackened and my eyes widened. My knees gave away and I dropped on them, breathing hard. After all the times I tried... After all the things I said... After weeping and calling so many times... Not once... Not once had she spoken. Or even reacted. There was nothing. She had given up on her daughter and I had in turn lost hope in her. And now... And now a few words from my father's friend and she... She had denied her freaking daughter even a glance and she spoke for him!!! I had begged and cried and begged and she- 
"Alex?" A small voice said. A tiny hand touched my cheek. I looked up to see Aaron's face. Tears ran down his cheek. I wiped away his tears and hugged him.
I breathed hard as I spoke, "I'm okay. Don't cry little brother. I'm okay. Shhhh..." My hands around him tightened. 
"You have to. It doesn't matter if you can't. You have to Make yourself move." Uncle spoke from inside. "It's hurting them too, but Hell your children are braver than you are." The last words held a tone of pride. Aaron's small hands wound themselves around my neck. I stroked his back.
"I know." Mum spoke. "But I can't Alex. Take them." 
Anger cracked through my body and I gasped at her words. My eyes saw red. I pulled away from Aaron and slammed the door open. My mother sat in her chair by the window. Her hair was falling loose and her face was an ill pale. She had grown thinner and her once bright blue eyes had dulled. 
"You're a coward!" I screamed at her. "A coward! You sit there all day not daring to face anything! You refuse to talk so you won't have to face anyone! You refuse to eat because you can't face your life! You refuse to acknowledge your children because you are scared of the similarities we hold with dad! Fuck, you even refuse to suicide because you're too freaking scared of dying! If I had not been here I think you'd have even let Aaron die so you wouldn't have to face responsibility! I know you're hurt! You think I'm not?! What I wouldn't do to stay and mope in a chair by the window if I could. But I can't! Because you won't bloody move and Aaron has to eat." Tears streamed down my face and my voice broke. "I'm tired." I waited. She turned her head towards the window. No answer.
I breathed in harshly and stood up. 
"Come on little brother, let's make noodles for you." I said firmly wiping my face with the back of my hand. I turned to Uncle Alex. "I'll have us packed by tomorrow if you'll have us." I said quietly. He nodded, his eyes brimming. I grabbed Aaron's small hand and led him to the kitchen.
The wedding tune began to play and in walked the bridesmaids in the traditional horrible dresses. Aaron turned to me again. I nodded at him in encouragement and he turned back to look at Rosa walk in, in a beautiful white gown. He smiled. I began to sob as Rosa reached the altar and her father passed her hand to Aaron's. My husband, Dean, quietly handed me a tissue and Uncle Alex patted my knee. 
"I give you Mr and Mrs. Aaron." The priest announced. I sprang out of my chair and Aaron opened his arms for a hug beaming.
"My little brother's all grown up." I sniffed ruffling his hair.
"Not the hair, Alex!" He pouted.

Sometimes things may get hard. But we have to learn to move on. If not for ourselves then for people around us.
"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." -Albus Dumbledore.
Ilma Zuberi.

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