Fond and Fugue

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06

In a soft voice, I asked my mom at breakfast if I could borrow her car keys to drive myself to our old town. Sitting at the dining table, she looked at me with a worried expression, “Kyun beta, kya hua? [Why, my child, what happened?]

“Meri yaadash wapas aa gayi hai. Mujhe sab kuch yaad hai ab. [I got my memory back. I remember everything now.] I need to go back, make amends with Aiden ma. I w-was going to introduce him to y-you and everything and then this happened. Uss hi din woh… mar-margaya tha aur mujhe kuch bhi yaad nahi tha. {That’s the day he died, and I didn’t even remember him.]

“It’s okay beta. He’ll understand everything. Ye loh gaddi ki chabi aur jao uss ko milne. Jab wapas aungi toh mujhe sab kuch batana, thik hai. {Here are the car keys, go meet him. When you come back, tell me everything, okay.]

“Thanks ma. Love you.”

***

The only place I could think of to prove my nightmare to reality is the cemetery. The sane adult in me, says that seeing is believing. That’s the only way I would be able to ground myself and come to terms with Aiden’s death. The flashes of his body in the hospital still haunts me and talking to his headstone might be the only thing I can do to help calm myself.

I stepped out of the car, my hair probably a mess left down. Straightening out the black dress I put on, my gaze finds the sign that says, “Town Cemetery”. That sign immediately causes tears to pool in my eyes once again. Wiping them off before they dripped onto my cheeks, I glanced around to find the flower stand to buy a few lilies for Aiden. I asked the lady where the recently buried graves would be and she pointed me into the direction where another man was visiting.

So, I sauntered into the direction she pointed me towards with lilies gripped in my sweaty palms. My sandals stepped onto the sticky mud, indicating that it might have rained a little last night. I tugged my jacket closer to my skin when the wind blew. The back of that man appeared clearer as I walked closer, a little familiar but I didn’t pay much attention to it. Except the headstone he was sitting in front of was Aiden’s.

Mystery man probably heard my footsteps approaching him. His head irked towards the right hinting that he knew there was someone behind him. I paused, giving the mystery man some time to collect himself. He stood up and turned and I saw -

“JAYDEN!?!”

“Amaya? What are you - Why are you here?”

Words were stuck in my throat, my vocal cords stopped working. Nothing seemed to be coming out from the shock. I cleared my throat and answered, “I, um, came to visit Aiden.” Heaving out a heavy breath, “I got my memories back. Last night. Uhrm how do you know Aiden,” I tilted my head to his headstone.

“Aiden’s my twin. Or he was my twin. Last name Hall didn’t do it for you, huh?” His derisive comment caused my lips to quirk up a little.

Slapping my forehead, I realised how stupid of me it was to not recognize the resemblance. I felt dizzy and lost my balance. Jayden snaked his arm around my waist, placing me under the big afro tree near the graves. We sat down, the tree shading us from the sun.

“He never told me he had a twin, looking back, I don’t even know that much about him. But I knew that your dad was an asshole who hurt his child. I tr-tried so much to convince Aiden to leave him be, tell social services, but he wouldn’t b-budge. Not one bit. He loved your dad so freaking much that it literally k-killed him. This is all my fault. I should have persuaded him h-harder, then he would… he would still be here today.”

I started sobbing into Jayden’s chest, he raised his palm to my shoulder, assuring me that it wasn’t my fault. “Listen here, it’s not your fault, it’s not Aiden’s, it’s Mr Hall’s. My mom managed to get a divorce from him, but she was only approved custody of one of us because they didn’t have definitive proof that he was abusive. We were young so we didn’t question it. Aiden, being the older one, as the overprotective loving brother chose dad, and let me live with mom. So, get through your thick skull, it isn’t anyone’s fault but that abusive asshole.”

The tears ran out of my eye duct as I listened to the family’s heartbreaking story. So, the quote is true then, “Jab tak hum kisi ke humdard nahi bante, hum dard se or dard humse, judaa nahi hota. [Until we become someone’s else’s sympathizer, pain doesn’t leave us.]” I raised from my seat when I was hit with a surge of pins and needles in my left ankle. Jayden, being the observant person he was, carried me bridal style headed in the direction of the car park before I could object.

One thing with Jayden, was the rush of butterflies in my stomach that I couldn’t deny. “Why did you want to meet at 5pm today?”

“That’s for me to know, and you to find out on our date, mademoiselle.”

***

That’s the end, I guess. Thanks a lot to those who stuck to the end of this short story. I’m sorry If it wasn’t up par to your expectations. I’ll try to do better the next I write.

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