Friend?10 mins 16K 10 mins 16K
He kept on looking at that leaf, for hours, until the last leaf, of his favourite tree, was pulled off with the slightest wind, and was warmly embraced by it’s home, the earth. What an irony, the one that makes you, is the one that has the power to destroy you.
Everything around was dead silent for that very moment. It felt like the very silence before the storm. He sat there still, immovable, until the spooky silence was shattered by the ring of the only piece of technology, that lay functional in the house. To him the silence wasn’t as scary as that sound. It could mean anything, either the last breath of the only person he had as family in this world, or the news of the existence of his family. He desperately hoped for the latter, but was very well aware of his condition, to not believe the former. The inner conflict had to be broken with facts. He somehow managed to reach down to the phone and get informed about the devastating news, he wasn’t oblivious of.
“Are you okay?” The voice on the other side was well received by him.
“Yes Yes.” His words just did not match what his unconscious was going through. He breathed in the air around him, in its purest sense, hoping he would be fine.
Not a single tear, did he shed, not the slightest fear, did he feel. Just phlegmatic, until he saw the only person he loved the most lie dead, exactly in front of his eyes. His friends and extended family, all sobbing. He reached out in front of his brother’s corpse and suddenly there was a blackout in front of his eyes. All he could hear then were random noises, senseless as they could get, he felt his heart sink, his stomach empty. The next thing people at the funeral saw was, him losing control on his body, his pulse dropping, putting him fatal on the ground, just the way the leaf fell.
He opened his eyes in the hospital, only to see his aunt and uncle, with a dull face, sit on the couch, just opposite his bed. None of their lips moved, but a voice was heard.
“I know everything about what happened.” He turned his head around, to look for the source but was unable to find one.
Seeing him conscious, the two individuals sitting in front of him, were extremely happy, at least on the outset. They had a little conversation with him to which he responded, plainly. As he bid farewell to the pale walls of the hospital, that resembled his inner state, with every step he realised how his brain and his body couldn’t contain the loss. The hospital was just a mile away from his residence. He chose to send everyone back and walk himself home, in silence and in the discomfort of his thoughts.
“I know everything what happened.” As the intensity of the voice increased, he turned around, almost taking a spin, to look for the origin of the sound, but all efforts in vain. All he could see were beautiful trees that stood still individually, looking splendid, and when one would look at them as a whole, the power of their beauty would increase significantly. He could do nothing but pace up his walk and reach home, for that’s the place where everyone finds peace. However, in his case, unlike the norm, the minute he stepped in, the voice almost echoed all around the place.
“Are you happy?”
This time the voice, shook him up, he realised it was for real. The stories he read and movies he watched, were not just made up to another level, they could transpire.
“Who are you? What do you want?” He screeched, holding tight his ears, shut. Only if that would help, the voices might have reduced, but all it did was made them clearer.
“He’s gone are you not happy?”
“Why would I be happy, I loved him, He was my family.” He put off his hands, and was screaming on the top of his voice. “Go Away.” His eyes watered in fear. His dread elevated to a level, that he could no more chose to stay back home. He picked up his car keys and drove down to his best friend’s place, with whom he had broken all contacts, years ago.
Her eyes still gleamed as brightly as they would 3 years back, on his arrival. She opened the door the same way she last did, to welcome him. Messed up hair, headphones around the neck and a whisk covered with chocolate. She was shocked to see him. The two felt like they were brought to a time, almost 3 years back.
The thing about best friends is that, time and distance, don’t have the potential to separate them. It took barely a few minutes for them to break the awkward silence and for him to tell her about all what had happened. Although she was moved by the news of his brother’s death, she focused more on consoling him at that moment, rather than mourning for the loss of someone she once loved and shared her most beautiful memories with.
“Those voices are all over the place.” They engaged in a conversation, which sounded too chilling, like they used to earlier. The only difference was that, earlier, stories were made up but then, they were for real.
“Now can you hear them?”
“No.” He breathed in tranquillity at that moment.
She took off for a while, made a few phone calls and returned back, with a piece of cake.
“I would suggest you should meet a psychiatrist.” She said as she handed him his favourite dish.
“I don’t think so.”
“Seriously? You are saying this? The unconventional, removing the stigma kind of guy, is giving me this shit?” Those words were enough for him to no more deny her so called suggestion.
“When has it happened that I have won over an argument with you?” He exclaimed as he slipped away the spoon and picked up the cake with his hand, just the way she loved to eat it.
“3 years back! You just walked away.” She said with a tear rolling down her eyes, which he made sure did not reach even up to her chin.
The aura, of a psychiatrist’s clinic, just did not feel like the one of a hospital, with pungent odours and nurses running around. It was more positive and subtle. In the cabin of hope as she calls it generally, he sat there with the same optimism. As he expressed his situation, his brother’s death and then the voices he heard, the man on the opposite seat, the more important one, rather, called it stress and handed over a few medicines.
Popping pills for three days, living with those voices, which sounded occasionally through his waking hours, he was overwhelmed. What can be expected from a man who has been going through immense pain both physically and psychologically, other than frustration, when the only hope he had from the bitter tasting pills, was of no more added mysterious voices, which was bygone?
The next suggestion his only confidant made, was to meet her friend, for which he sure wasn’t ready. But well, what more good could a friend do, than getting another on a psychoanalysts sofa.
The character of the air was comforting, it felt like it called for the truth and nothing else. He sat in front of the lady, who was neatly dressed in a green kurti and dazzling silver earrings.
“So? Tell me something about you.” She curved her lips into a wide smile.
“My brother sadly, passed away 2 days back and since then I have been hearing a voice, it’s scary.”
“And what do they say?”
“I know everything.”
“Okay.” She nodded in agreement.
The conversation went on, but he did not mention at all that the voice had something else to say too, about him being happy. He felt like covering that part of the truth would be just about fine, to avoid being judged.
“So how was your relationship with your brother?”
He dulled his neutral face on her question, and then smiled a little, “It was beautiful. We have been there for each other always. We used to go to school together and then college. We partied together, went to clubs, had a lot of fun.”
“Can you tell me one memory you cherish till date?”
“My mother hugging me just a few hours before her death.” This statement was more than enough for her to gauge the origin of the problem. His face turned pale, the minute he mentioned his mother and his eyes watered, which he made sure to hide as much as he could and tried not to break down in front of her.
“You can relax. How did your mother pass away?”
His face turned red in anger, she quickly slipped away all the visible harmful objects in the environment.
“Accident.” He uttered a single word and shut his mouth, while his eyes were placed at his feet all the while.
“That was it?” She asked, investigating the situation.
“Yes.” He breathed in deep, but his aggression did not diminish at all. Silence was all over the place, “It was a bloody murder.” He clenched to the sofa burning in rage.
“Who killed her?” She knew that was the time to further her questions.
“Her older son.”
“You mean your brother?”
“Yes.” He said callously and looked away.
The session went on, only to find out that his mother died in trying to save her older son.
Days and months of such sessions, of breakdown, of despair, of discomfort, of wandering thoughts and of a constant fight with the unconscious, passed. Every time he expressed his desire to not continue to his best friend, she held his hand firm and said, “ I know you can and I know you will. Just keep up your spirits Sam. With every passing day, you are a step closer to a future that has more of you, Sam.”
Two months down, he was not yet free from his hallucinations, but they had reduced.
“You wish to know why you could hear those voices?”
“What I tell you now, will take some time and acceptance on your part.” She patted his back slowly, and continued, “The whole idea is that, a mother and a son have a very strong bond, which is generally seen by the son as being hindered by the presence of the father, in your case because your father died when you were just 2, and because your mother used to call your older brother, as being like your father, he to you seemed like a hindrance in your bond with your mother. That’s when you had the dream of your brother’s death for the first time. Later when your mother passed away, in an attempt to save your brother from the fire; you had negative feelings towards him, even more. That’s when you had your second dream of your brother’s death. But because the society expected you to behave well with your family and to be there for your brother and love him, you unconsciously started portraying your hatred as love, to save yourself from the discomfort. The friendship you mention between you and your brother, was just a play through on part of your unconscious. And the very reason you abruptly broke apart from your best friend, was because, when she got into a relationship with your brother, she felt to you like your mother, whom you felt like you were losing again and to the same person, you Brother. The voices are from within you. They wish to scare you with the truth of your masked friendship with your brother, which you now know.”
At that moment, he knew she was right, he needed time to process all of it and to accept the aversive facts. Knowing that you wanted the death of your very own brother even if unconsciously, is not easy to digest, but with her help, it was possible for him.
Years later, as he saw his messy best friend, walk down the aisle, in white, tears rolled down his eyes.
“I don’t know what friendship looks like, you know to me it’s the most blur concept, but if it looks like you, I wish to be your friend first, husband later. Will you take me as a friend for a lifetime?”