On a sleepless night I sat with a glass of water and hand full of pills, I needed just one for the night but a handful would be perfect for life. As I popped each pill I started drifting slowly in to the darkness of oblivion which washed me up on a memory long forgotten.
I sat behind on a bicycle as my brother (Vijay) pushed it on a road next to a wide open field on our way back home from somewhere, but I don’t remember. We hardly spoke to each other even though I was always a talkative little kid, but not today and not right now. Sunlight disappeared so fast I pointed it out to my brother and said, “Anna (means brother in Telugu) look its turning dark, shouldn’t we hurry home?”
“Light insects” I screamed and my brother stopped to stare at the field. We didn’t care anymore about the world, he dropped the bicycle after I got and we ran in to the field of yellow, green, and long grass and weed. I don’t know how long we spent chasing the fire flies but I wish it was longer. “Let’s go home and come back with something to catch the ‘light insect’ and take it home”.
The only thing I remember at home is that my brother ran in and out faster than light, he came back with a green soft drink bottle to bring the fly. We were lucky to have caught one, and it was a beautiful evening that we spent chasing fire flies. The night opened up and swallowed the flies except the one we had kept captive in our green bottle that evening.
We went home after the flies left and showed with a lot of pride to everyone our achievement in the plastic green bottle. My brother took the bottle in to the bed room where our older brother ‘Babu’ joined us to watch the little beautiful fly as we slid into a sleepy night.
I was stirred by a lot of conversations and footsteps that I overheard. I was eavesdropping on my brothers’ conversation. Babu: “We shouldn’t tell him, he’ll cry over it. Let’s just tell him the fire fly went home” and I knew I’d just pretend or say yes to anything they said.
Fifteen years from then I’m not sure how much of this is actually true, if I’ve romanticised with parts of the memory or if I have changed this story after telling it so many times. My brothers are alive to confirm or deny the story. From two loving and doting brothers now I have nil.
My oldest brother Babu died when I was six, a year after the fire flies. My other brother Vijay died when I was thirteen.
Memories tend to be romanticised as we grow older, things of discomfort have been forgotten from a happy occasion. Happy things or things that seem less important from a happy or sad day tend to disappear.
Do I miss my brothers? Yes. Have I found closure? I have no idea how that feels like. Do I need closure? Maybe I don’t. What do I want? A sign that they are in a better place than what they had. Is that possible? No.
Death is inevitable for now at least. What I can, will and want to do is accept the past, learn to handle it, deal with it and move on with life carrying a knowledge that they are in a happy place.