A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 3)

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Flash Fiction #163

This is the 3rd part of the story. The 1st part is here and the 2nd part is here.

Now reflecting on it, I wonder why my parents even bothered to pretend they had a great marriage since my father would find every chance to go on business trips, and his conflicts with my mother could not escape the notice of the close-knit neighborhood, in which everybody was working for the same rural college. I mean everybody except my father who was working for the mining administration located not far from us. He was originally an engineer, but he had not worked as an engineer for a long time. In order to get away from home, he got himself into the training corp of the administration, which gave him the chance to travel to different coal mines to teach courses. Sometimes he would be absent for a month or even two months.

“You need to tutor Arjin and you should not go away this summer.” My mother ordered my father. My father refused to comply, saying that he was dedicated to his job, for which my mother made a contemptible nasal sound as a reply. Unbeknown to my father, Mom went to the boss of my dad to plead her case. The next thing I knew, Dad “was grounded” for the summer and couldn’t get a teaching assignment to any coal mine. He was furious. Summer is a great time for travel for people living in the inhospitable weather of the Steppe, but my father had to stay home. He couldn’t stand it. He glared at Mom as if he wanted to strangle her.

Arjin looked quite unhappy when he first came, but since he was an outgoing boy, soon he made friends with other boys in the neighborhood. They went out to play soccer, to catch crickets (an insect) for cricket fight, to climb trees for apples etc. Once or twice he didn’t even come back home for lunch since his buddies would invite him home for lunch. Of course my mother wouldn’t allow that. She ordered him to come home for lunch since she had no intention of inviting other people’s boys to our home at all. My mother had never invited my friends or Arjin’s friends for a meal. Not even once. And she couldn’t tell us that she disliked children so much that she didn’t want to reciprocate other mothers’ hospitality. That’s a truth she would never admit. Instead she would tell us that other people were not up to her standard. They were not really clean. Other people’s food was not as hygienic as ours–they don’t use two separate cutting boards for the raw and the cooked food; they don’t wash their fruit with potassium permanganate solution. Actually my mother was a terrible cook and her kitchen was not at all as good as what she claimed to be. My friends’ mothers were so much better than my mother in almost every aspect, but the most important of all, they are normal people. Some people say, “parents are all bad,” which is not true. Most parents are normal people who have flaws; but my parents are the the extreme case on the narcissism spectrum–lying, manipulating, hypocrisy, victimizing, bad-mouthing, spreading rumors, recruiting flying monkeys are being practiced daily in their warped and twisted little world.

Cousin Arjin, Twenty Five Years Ago

It was a horrible place. My aunt didn’t know how to cook and her food was barely eatable. The problem was that there was no place to buy ice cream, chocolate, snacks, or candies, which I had been getting used to back home. The shops around here only sell two kinds of soda, which had weird tastes; there was a place selling so-called-chocolate, but it was definitely fake. My mother packed a whole suitcase of my favorite snacks and candies to bring with me, and I opened every little package and licked every one . Then I told my cousin Nalan about it. Just as I expected, she was so disgusted that she ran away. She was a very strange girl that she was so quiet that I often didn’t feel her presence. She could crawl into a corner with a book, not making a sound for the whole night and then she went to bed. Sometimes I thought she wanted to disappear.

Well, don’t be fooled by her quietness. Nalan was a witch in human clothes. Her outward obedience could only fool her parents, who considered her a model child, from whom I should learned.

“Arjin, why do you go out so much? Why can’t you stay home to read a book like Nalan?” “Arjin, do fifty more math exercises. Your cousin Nalan is the first one in her class, and you should be like her.” “Arjin, do you know why the sky is blue? You don’t know? How come? Your cousin Nalan knows that and you are one year older than her.” My aunt and uncle said to me.

I couldn’t imagine myself learning from this mini witch. She’s not normal. How could a normal person stay home and read books all summer long? Something was wrong with her. What’s the point of becoming the first one in her class when she was so abnormal? One day probably she would end up insane. And why the hell did she want to know the reason for a blue sky if she doesn’t like to go out to see the blue sky? Could she think of way to be more like a real human being?

And soon I learned from my aunt that Nalan had been bad-mouthing about me. Aunt Hoy told me, when Nalan was not present, that I was befriending a boy whose parents were smugglers of illegal cigarettes. Nalan looked very quiet and inept. But looks can be deceiving. Behind my back, she heard things from her friends and reported all the information to her mother. What a mini witch.

When the summer was over, I was so relieved, thinking that I would leave this hellhole and go home, but my parents wrote a letter telling us that I have to stay for one semester since my father was recovering well but my mother was having a little health problem, not serious enough to raise alarm but not so good as to work normally. So my return had to be delayed.

And the terrible incident soon happened. All because of that witch Nalan.

(To Be Continued Here)

8 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 3)

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