The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
Jude C Perera
Her wail stabbed his ears, it irritated Chris, it sounded subhuman.
It was a very public display of a very private process, he was grieving too. But he never showed it, couldn’t or didn’t want to, he wasn’t too sure.
It was his twin that was being lowered in to the rain soaked soil, blissfully carefree in the casket. He had this mad impulse to smash open the coffin and kiss him for the last time. He had his opportunity during viewing, but had just stood there, stolidly staring at his brother while supporting his heavily sedated mother; who kept slipping between sanity and make believe with pitiful regularity. He looked peaceful, still like him, the smashed back of his skull skillfully concealed. He did not place any wreath or posy, nor read any eulogy, their affection was above that and any words would have merely insulted it.
They had always felt each other, maintained telepathic communication lines which confounded science and even their parents. But Chris couldn’t feel him now, had no inkling of his mental state, death had finally cut the lines. And that destroyed him. He had lost himself.
Chris tried hard to spot her tears; such screams had to invite torrents of it, but he had difficulty noticing any moisture on her cheeks. He never thought it was the distance; it just further profiled the character of a phony, in his books. Her voice had grown hoarse, and she had lost some enthusiasm for the act along with it. It helped settle his breathing and downgrade his rage. She was starting to wobble and her friends scrambled to prop her up, possibly to save her and her dress from the freshly created mud, he throttled an unnecessary chuckle.
She still looked damn hot, her tartish lips, hand painted eyebrows and long lashes strode through the staged grief, he couldn’t help noticing. Chris had warned his reserved brother, he had a right to; he had popped out a whole ten minutes before him. But he had ignored his elderly counsel with a sheepish grin, as he always did, never one to offend. She was after his wealth and a life of luxury, Chris knew, he could see through even without trying. They looked perfectly identical but were powerfully dissimilar, he had always wondered why. Chris used women, women used his brother, he had attempted to even the odds; but his brother was stupidly incorrigible.
She had exceeded his expectations; she played the perfect wife and played it consistently. Chris was genuinely impressed with her subtle competencies and enjoyed her more commonly known one with food; frequently. She rivaled his mother with the Christmas turkey and the ginger pudding; and eclipsed her with her well done lamb shanks and the roast pork. His mother was sold, his father had followed hot on her heels. They had even started to look admiringly at her daring dress code that was for the most part revealing, and they had always been hard core conservatives. Chris chose to forgive their naivety and understood the genetic transfer that had got his brother while strangely sparing him. She had even quit her job to be at home, and there were whispers of expanding the family; this had come close to distorting his carefully constructed views on her motives for love.
But he stubbornly refused to celebrate his brother’s improbable windfall; until the kiss finally redeemed him. It was quick and full on, full on the nape and exquisitely tender, and in their house with his brother so harmlessly close. Chris had trembled with perverse excitement and rage. She had feigned the perfect blush; complete with the text book symptoms of shock. She couldn’t apologize; she had pretended to struggle with the words and he was impressed again.
He detected an entire column of tears readying to break free, and turned away to hide their effect. Chris saw his father struggling feebly to contain his daughter-in-law, as the crowd began to pelt the coffin with clods of mud. His mother stretched limply over some chairs, her head nestling in his aunt’s lap. She looked ready to join his brother.
He heard his own sobbing rising irreverently over the cemetery; the tears willfully broke through and bathed his cheeks. He didn’t care, as he knelt in the mud and dropped a wet ball of earth on his brother’s casket.
Chris had told him in the end. He had reacted violently, too violently, and had unexpectedly and unreasonably turned on him. Chris suffered from recurring hallucinations of his brother hitting the granite paving hard, head first.
He parked neatly next to the kerb on Maybury Drive and walked confidently towards the police station. He felt great comfort in what he was going to do.
Her screams were enough to move the knot of sympathizers, some to genuine admiration and others to downright disgust. It definitely dulled the warm spring sun that cascaded down. She had looked after him, faithfully for almost a year. It was inevitable, he had one foot in the grave anyway some whispered, and he might have scavenged a few more months at best even if he hadn’t overdosed on the insulin. She had thrown away her relative youth for almost a year. His grandchildren looked on, unmoved; they struggled to advance beyond the cheap lips, hand painted eyebrows and those damn eyelashes.
© Jude C Perera August 2013
My works have appeared in Hackwriters (Just Another Woman, The Other Son, Apocalypse Next etc.), Fiction 365 and The Fringe Magazine.
My travel narratives have featured on the Travelmag online magazine.
Touchdown in Colombo - http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=4681
Monuments and Sarees – A Tour of North India - http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=5721
Too Close to Elephants in a Srilankan Forest - http://travelmag.co.uk/?p=6256