A Tale of Friendship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

It's a story about friendship. Ego involved in friendship and its repercussions.

 

Thomas was once again alone the way he’s been in his entire life. The only difference this time is that he was dead. Facing the eternal serenity and loneliness of the afterlife.

He was far from his family not for one or two years but thirty freaking years. A lifetime. His passion to earn money and to get rid of poverty made him live far from his wife. He told me once, ‘A man has to work his butt off to earn a respectable position in society. And this requires painful and unfathomable sacrifices.’

We met through a client. I still remember Thomas was projecting an infectious smile the first time he greeted me. Back then we both were passionate young people. Acting impulsively. Bickering fiercely. Talking deeply. Eating, sleeping and cooking leisurely at each other’s place. Enjoying every moment. We both saw and supported each other in financial ups and downs. It seemed to me he was yearning for a person like me in his life. The feeling was mutual.

Thomas was married before I met him. Many a time I insisted Thomas to give me the reason for his disconnected marriage. But he was a master of changing topics. I adored his topic-changing habits. I always wondered why Thomas was not being worn out of constantly working and not meeting his wife.

Later on, I got my answer.

Thomas’s brother Tom was living in the same house with him. They lived together after their parents’ death. But Tom was too young to be my friend. So, I never had a friendly relationship with him.

As Thomas and Tom lived in the same house. After Tom's marriage, Thomas had got a person in his life to take his suppressed feelings out i.e. Anna, her sister-in-law. Thomas used to tease Anna about being illiterate. At times he used to spoil the meals prepared by Anna. Thomas and Tom had one car. So, when Anna wished to ride the car Thomas had already pressed his foot on the gas. He was purposefully interrupting her amid conversations to irritate her.

Anna used to complain about these activities to Tom. But Tom didn’t lend an ear to Anna. Tom used to call this ‘usual-household-type-of-politics.' In a nutshell, Anna suffered because of Thomas rude and childish behavior with her.

Usually, I was summoned in Thomas and Anna’s feuds based on the expectation to take the patriarchal side. Since I was Thomas's friend, I backed him most of the time. Thomas's bravery, resilience and accomplishments have always appealed to me. I used to joke with Thomas to talk about his problems with Anna or at least go to a psychiatrist to discuss his reaction to Anna's presence in the house. But according to me, he was egoistic in this sense.

I want to confess that as time went by, I saw Thomas' intolerance towards Anna, Tom’s hustle in promoting his newly found business and Anna’s suffering in that house. I began to have a soft corner for Anna.

Anna would meet me in restaurants or called me late at night to discuss her situation in the house. I used to help her out. This way we fostered a friendship. At times I took Anna's side by giving bits of advice to Thomas to correct his behavior with her. After all her mental health was being deteriorated day by day. But Thomas paid no heed to my advice.

I’d no idea why Thomas was suddenly bitter after Tom and Anna’s marriage. Maybe he wanted Anna to leave Tom because he projected his wife attributes into Anna. He considered women were ruthless, indifferent and lustrous. So, he wanted good for Tom.

Several moons after, I witnessed the birth of twins in that house. The birth of two stars in the night – Mia and Sasha. They both projected the light God planned for that house. But the light was clouded now and then by the stormy black dense clouds of their elder’s ego.

With kids being in that house, Anna began to stand for their rights. She was transformed into a fierce lioness. No matter what Thomas was saying. Now Anna had learned a lesson to be confident when it came to her kids. Otherwise, Thomas would have an upper hand over her.

The two kids were expected to fulfill their parents’ wishes. If Thomas expressed his wish to buy a screen for the kids it was brushed aside by Anna. If Thomas had a plan to enjoy a picnic with kids, Anna had substituted it with parent-teacher meetings at school. Thomas was losing control of irritating Anna.

Now judging this all scenario, I can say Thomas loved the kids. But he had done too wrong to Anna that she considered Thomas' interruptions as the new way of pissing her off.

One day Thomas did a horrid feat. Having been observe Thomas’ behavior and actions for quite some time I was already fed up with him. The act gave me a strong reason to leave him in the dawn of 15th May 2010. Ignoring our twenty-five years-long friendship.

After that everything fell apart for me.

 

----

Mia took pride in her lifelong relationship with Uncle Thomas.

Tom was her biological father. But Thomas was a father figure for her in its truest sense. Thomas was like her childhood friend. She had a pet name for him, Thoms. Mia remembers how he used to narrate stories to her in his quiet chilled room in the dim yellow bulb. They both were fond of classic novels. Movies. Shopping malls. Amusement parks. Driving car. Using ATM. Many a time he'd expressed his wish to buy her and Sasha mobile phones but Mia's mother disapproved of it. Now when Mia looks back on her childhood years, she considers Thoms as her true father.

Tom never had time for Mia and Sasha. He was occupied by all sorts of work. Every petty work was his priority. But not the kids. And as they say, ‘The most precious gift one can give to another is time.’ Thomas was spending time with Mia. This way Mia and Thomas developed a friendship. Regarding Sasha, she was always a mommy girl.

----

Our friendship lasted for twenty-five years.

But on the day Thomas died, I wasn’t able to attend his funeral. I guess I didn’t want to.

Rewinding, I feel that Thomas lost his control over life. Apathetic Wife. No kids. Long hours in the office. Outlandish relationship with Tom. Frustration towards Anna - who was the new member in the house.

There was no one around whom he hated the most. No one to whom he could have proved his presence, to prove his control over. So, taking all his frustrations out on Anna was his last resort.

He poisoned Anna.

Anna was recovered. I was already frustrated by Thomas behavior and the poisoning act was my scapegoat. I thought that was the most horrendous act my friend could have done.

Now when I lay on my bed. I think how arduous of a task would it be to rest alone in a dark place. Where no one’s around. That was how Thomas felt during his life especially when I left him. It’s my fate to feel this pain.

In my quiet moments, I think Thomas needed me. He didn’t say it to me openly but I should have known it. I was his goddamn friend. I should have empathized with his situation. But I turned my back towards him.

Back then I was considering Thomas an egomaniac. But I was more egoistic than him. If Thomas was paying no heed to my advice, then being his friend, I was also not doing anything else apart from talking. I should have persuaded his wife to accompany him or should have encouraged Thomas to divorce her. There was so much I could have done. He was lonely. He was alone. I was his only friend and he had a visceral connection with me. In the end, I dared to leave him but not to help him. How weak of a person I was.

I left Thomas because he was not the same guy, I met the first time. Being egoistic, I wanted the same young Thomas. Same feelings. The time his behavior was changed due to Anna and he ignored me I was hurt. I decided that my mental health should be my priority. I was so naive because my mental health was deteriorated only after leaving Thomas.

The decision to leave Thomas alone in this brutal world was the worst of my life. I could not forge a long-term relationship with anyone in my life after leaving Thomas. My ego was hurt every time the person changed with time. How could I ignore the basic right of humans to change with time?

As I have aged into a sixty-five years old man, over the years, I have shared my true self with you, my friend. My emotional supporter. You were my support system after Thomas. Only you project the bravery to behold my negative thoughts. To embrace me like the filthy person I am. My dearest DIARY - you have done wonders for me. Today, I have shared with you my darkest secret – Thomas’s story. He only lived in my memory. But now it rests with you too. I judged my friend in his most vulnerable times. In case you want to punish me. You should have my details.

My name is Smith Evans.

----

Thomas was a past for Mia. Mia has buried Thomas’ memories deep in her heart. She was not comfortable discussing such a beautiful journey of memories with anyone. She was afraid that discussing them would end up in yearning for him. Which would be painful as he was no longer present to soothe her. Although it was a hell of a task for Mia to forget her childhood and then Thomas’s death yet she considered it better to accept and live in the present.

‘Hello, Is Mia on the phone?’

Yes.

‘Do you remember me?’

‘I am sorry. Who are you?’

‘Who came to visit Thomas on weekends when you were ten years old?’

She was voiceless. Mia felt restless to hear the name of Thomas.

Smith expected that Mia would jump into dozens of questions. But he only heard silence. So, he asked ‘Are you still on the line?’

Gathering herself back from such a shock, Mia said ‘Oh yes! You are audible. If I am not wrong, are you Uncle Smith? Aren't you?’

‘Yes, finally you recognized me' chuckled Smith.

Mia was still trying to know his reason to call her. She was sweating. After all, she heard the name of Thomas after ages.

‘How are you doing boss lady?’

‘Oh…Yes…I am perfectly fine Uncle Smith. I thought you vanished how come you called me today?’

‘Yeah, you are certainly right. I vanished. I cut off my connection with your family and today I called you from nowhere.’ Smith said guiltily.

Mia maintained silence.

She felt a little rude of her to question Smith this way which sparked guiltiness in him.

‘Mi…. Mia.… I met with an accident last week. I saw death from so near that now I don’t want to take anything for guarantee. I had felt an urge to share with you my reason for vanishing from Thomas life’, said Smith with a trembling voice.

‘Calm down … Uncle Smith ... I am listening.’

Mia, it was criminal for me to not tell my wrongdoings to the person who loved Thomas the most. It was not just a heart attack that killed Thomas. It was not his wife who only had a pecuniary relationship with him. The biggest reason your Thoms died was because of me.

Smith's words were acting like a dagger in Mia's beautiful childhood nostalgia. ‘How is it possible?... I am not getting you.’

That day Smith showed courageousness. He shared everything about Thomas he wrote in his diary with Mia.

----

It’s been twenty years since Thoms died.

Even though she struggles to forget the time spent with Thomas. The phone call once again sparked the memories of Thomas in Mia. After such a long hiatus, she heard the word, Thomas.

On the same night, Mia laid on her bed thinking about Thomas. Thinking about how life changes when that person passes away with whom you share your childhood and you don’t have physical access to that person anymore. The person fades away day by day year by year. Until you remember him only in your nostalgic moments.

Seeing the dim yellow bulb in her room she remembered the stories once Thomas narrated her in the same lighting- giving her a sense of her relationship with Thomas. She was humbled that if Smith left Thomas when he needed him, she was there with him. She was not changed. She remained the same Mia to her Thoms. She was content because the test of friendship is conducted in most vulnerable times and she passed it. She felt proud to do contrary to what Smith did. She felt proud of never judging the person she loved the most.

She remembered holding the hands of Thomas on his death bed. Thomas breathing his last seconds in her hands. Once again, she began reminiscing about her past. She had tried her best to lock the past inside herself. Remembering stories. Reading books. Visiting Malls. Enjoying rides. Going Cinema. Using ATM.

Mia slept on the thought that her friendship with Thomas was evergreen.

No one in the world can have the special bond she shared with Thomas. No one can feel about Thomas the way she does.

She felt her childhood was the best.

She slept and dream Thomas.


Submitted: September 10, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Umar Farooq. All rights reserved.

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