A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 1)

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Flash Fiction #163

Nalan and Arjin are cousins, and they described, each from a different perspective, a tragic incident happened 25 years ago that tore the family apart, after which the story proceeds to right now when the mystery is analyzed, and the cause and effect are revealed. This is based on a true story, but I changed the name, the age, the time period and some other minor details not essential to the story itself. The ending is fictional since I want to provide a hopeful closure. In real life, however, there is no ending, and things unresolved remain unresolved.

Nalan, Twenty Five Years Ago

The incident happened 25 years ago when I was in 4th grade, about 10 years old. Such an event, tinged with the shade of murderous intent, scandalized our family and shamed my parents, who couldn’t get over it for a long time afterwards. They blamed my cousin Arjin, who’s one year old than me, for all the embarrassment and the anguish they suffered. Arjin was considered by my parents a teachable child before the incident, but he was an incorrigible hooligan after it. Of course, they would defend Arjin tirelessly in front of the police, the neighbor, or anybody who alluded to the incident–family pride was a big thing to them–but behind the closed door, my parents labeled Arjin as a hopeless degenerate.

Well, I liked Arjin when we were all small children, having holiday gatherings at my grandmother’s house. He was quite good-natured, very cute. He had some childish antics, but those are quite harmless. When he was 11, he came to live with us for a while.

The reason he came to live with us was a little complicated. My maternal grandmother had nine children. My mother was the first born, and Arjin’s dad was the second. Arjin’s dad had a major operation at the time, with months of recuperation and physical therapy afterwards. Arjin’s mother had to spend all her time taking care of the family and the patient, with no extra attention for Arjin, whose school grades consequently tumbled. Arjin was my grandma’s golden grand kid. As you know, my grandma is a grand narcissist, who always liked to favor a golden boy and a golden girl, and disfavor one or two of her offspring, who were marked out as bitter disappointments. Arjin was my grandma’s favorite boy, and my cousin Rong, the daughter of one of my aunts, was the favorite golden girl. Rong was a very cute girl indeed, with two big eyes reflecting the modern Asian beauty standards–all the traditional small eyed beauties (not those caricatures in Hollywood movies) are thrown into “the historical garbage”, which is a term used by men and women who claim to be the most modern and fashionable Asians.

My mother would periodically invite Rong to come to live with us during summer breaks, just so that she could present the beautiful Rong in her narcissistic parade in the neighborhood. The rest of my cousins were not cute enough to make the cut. My mother, being my grandma’s golden girl from birth, was a younger and more educated narcissist in comparison to my grandma, but she was as fierce as my grandmother in getting what she wanted. I was cute in a Mongolian way, but not enough for my mother’s pride. Worse, I was too silent and sulky to supply my mother with a sense of superiority. Rong fit my mother’s scheme so much better than me in this aspect. However, my mother’s invitation of Rong didn’t go unnoticed by my grandmother, who felt that she had to advocate for Arjin.

“Why don’t you invite Arjin to live with you this summer? Arjin’s grades are bad and his parents had no time to discipline him right now. You are a college professor and you live on a college campus. Being the only college graduate in the family, you have to help Arjin, who’s going to take his crucial middle school entrance exam soon.” My grandma told my mother. “You may also hire one or two professors around you to tutor Arjin.”

My grandma had some money saved for her favorite grandson and she gave it to my mother, who pocketed it happily. However I bet my mother, from the very beginning, had no intention of hiring a professor. She would just ask my father to tutor Arjin, and keep the money in the family.

Cousin Arjin, Twenty Five Years Ago

I don’t want to remember that incident happened twenty five years ago, however, sometimes it just intrudes on my consciousness. I was very innocent of the crime they tried to pin on me. The whole unfortunate incident and the following turmoil was caused by my cousin Nalan, who was a mini-witch disguised as an obedient girl; Nalan’s mother, my aunt Hoi, who’s a big witch and who never smiled; and aunt Hoi’s husband, Uncle Dao. I called him Devil behind his back, because you have to be a devil in order to marry such a witch, don’t you? A normal man just cannot do it.

(To Be Continued Here)

6 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 1)

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