Posted by: miilee | February 19, 2010

The Two Yesterdays…


Another tear slipped down her cheek, and like the others before it, joined the little puddle on the window sill and she closed her eyes, hoping at least that will stop more from coming. Yet, another one squeezed itself from beneath her lashes like a prisoner making a get away.


The problem with being an avid reader is that you start looking at life as a book where everything falls into place at the end; all the loose strings neatly tied up and a happy ending.

The problem with life is that either it is not a book like story or it is written by a really shitty writer. She didn’t know which.


She reached for her tissue box as yet another tear made its way down her cheek to the dark splotch on the wood. How long will it be before she stops? She wondered hopelessly as she saw with sightless eyes as it poured madly outside.


There was one sure way of stopping those tears for good and she knew it was kept in a marked bottle in the gardening cupboard, but she was not sure if she wanted to do it.


It had been some time ago, yet she couldn’t bear to think of it without crying herself to sleep.


It is like turning a page and reading the unexpected and unpleasant twist in the story…


She picked up the bottle and poured herself another drink. As she put her drink down, she felt another surge of tears and submitted to a wave of grief as it washed over her.


Vividly, she recalled every detail of that horrid day; She’d come home from her french class, waiting to bombard her little brother, Ross with some new words. Then she’d seen all the people on the porch, all looking sombre… too sombre…


There was Uncle Mat, The Robinsons from across the road, Old Mrs. Gettle from down the street and Rev. Hastinger. The moment she’s swung the gate open, she’s known there was something wrong. She’d waved uneasily to Uncle Mat and had shouted out for mom like she did everyday. At this, Mrs. Gettle had buried her face in her handkerchief and hobbled into the house; the living room had seemed full of people and she’d hurried up the steps. Uncle max had moved towards her but the reverend had stopped him by saying ‘Let her go Mat, my son.’


Even now as she recalled it, she howled with the blinding pain of walking in to see two bodies covered with a white cloth in the center of the room as people had gathered around; little Ross had been standing next to the mantelpiece looking stunned and lost.

The glass slipped from her numb fingers and crashed to the floor but heedless, she held the window grille and wailed like a wounded animal. she sank to the floor, hardly registering the glass pieces piercing her palms…


Ross heard the shattering of glass and the howl and ran towards the living room, worry lines prominent around his eyes making him look years older than his 45. He found her on the floor by the window, her palms bleeding and a bottle in her left hand. Her grey hair were all over and tangled.
“What’s the matter Di?”
“I’m so sorry Ross! I should have been there with you that day! I shouldn’t have gone to class!” She wailed.
He restrained himself from sighing or wincing at her words and followed the routine:
“It was not your fault Di. Now will you let go of that vinegar?”

“It’s not vinegar Ross! How can you call it that? Look Ross, It is Daddy’s favorite scotch! See!”
“Yes, indeed it is daddy’s scotch Di. I didn’t notice, I’m sorry. Give it here and I’ll pour myself a drink too.”

“No Ross! You’re too young to have Daddy’s scotch!”

“Well, then I’ll just keep it away so you can have it later…”

“Yes, you do that…. Then we’ll sit together and remember Mom and Dad, won’t we Rossie?”
“Yes… yes we will. Come, let’s go to your room, shall we?
He took the half empty vinegar bottle, capped it and set it on a side table. He then helped her to her feet and took her to her room. After examining her hands and dressing the wounds, having picked out all the glass, he settled her for bed. All this time, she’d been describing the funeral for what seemed like the billionth time and he played his part, patting her as she cried yet again.
Then, sobbing as the tears subsided, she moaned, “I’ll never stop missing Mom and Dad. Will you little Rossie?”
“No Di, I won’t.”
“Well, you go on to bed now, boy. You’ve got school tomorrow right? And it won’t do to be late now, would it?”
“No Di, it wouldn’t.”
“Good night then. I’m not feeling all that well, or I’d come to tuck you in. You think you can manage Ross?”
“I’ll manage Di. It’s ok.”
Wearily he climbed down the stairs and went to his study. He ran a tired hand through his salt-and-pepper hair and opened the door.
“She’s sleeping now. Had one of her attacks… Cut her palms a little on the broken glass but I’ve taken care of those. I’ll call Dr. Rainford in the morning and he’ll drop by before he goes to the surgery.”
He looked at the two saddened, wrinkled faces and knelt before them.
The old man took his hand and said;
“What was she talking about?”
…Silence…
“Tell me Ross.”
“About…. ”
“Our funeral?”
He didn’t say anything, just nodded slightly at the rug.
He looked up as a tear slid from his old mother’s eye onto his wrist.
“Oh Mom! She’s sick!! She doesn’t know what she’s doing… We’re trying our best, aren’t we? She has a good doctor and everything else that we can give her. There’s really nothing else that we can do….”
He got up and sat between the two gently sobbing old couple. “Oh, Mom, Dad! This is not the first time is it? We know this happens and we must take it in our stride.”
“I know dear…. ” Said the mother “But I guess I was hoping today, of all the days…” She bit her lip.
“I know mom…”
The two looked at their son; Poor child! How generous of him to have dedicated his life for his ailing sister and not gone off to make a family of his own.

He got up and went over to the bar and poured three glasses of champaign and took them over at the table.
He held his glass for a toast and pulling themselves together, the two followed suit. He cleared his throat and hoped his voice didn’t tremble and give him away, he said, “To Di.” he gulped the lump in his throat and went on…
“Happy 50th Birthday.”
Quickly he turned away, sipping his drink and allowing one lone tear to slide down his cheek….

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Responses

  1. lovely…I was mesmerized. you should start writing a book….

    • thanks…. 🙂 that is the long term plan…

  2. I was caught up.Very interesting.Very well written.
    cheers..!!

    • Thanks ya!

  3. poignant tale beautifully narrated!

  4. Great story, great style of story telling.
    Loved it.

    Keep at it!

    • Thanks so much Vijitha… glad you liked it… have added another Short Story yesterday…. Read it if you want..

  5. Please do not write in italics the whole reading experience becomes stressful.!

    i think you had a good story going,and I liked the flow,the sentiments were nicely captured.

    • Thanks!
      But the italics were a little needed because I wanted to distinguish between the two story lines…


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