A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 17)

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Flash Fiction #163

This is the 17th part. The previous 16 parts are here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

Nalan, Right Now

“Just tell me what you know about my mother. I won’t believe you, but I am curious.” Arjin says.

“You have a wonderful mother and you are a very good boy, but you grow up believing your narcissistic father and your narcissistic grandmother…” I try to explain everything.

“Just tell me about my mother. Stop rambling about my father. I learned that it was a swimming accident, in which my mother died. What do you have to say about it?” He interrupts. He is a nice boy but he sometimes lacks self awareness. He likes to interrupt me but he is very upset when other people interrupt him.

“It was not a swimming accident. Let me tell you this way so that you know the whole story.” I say it very calmly.

“Just come to the point, will you?” He is a little impatient.

“Do you want to listen or not? I need to tell the story from the very beginning so that you know what really happened. Remember 25 years ago when you were 11, you came to live with us in the Steppe? Before you traveled with us to the north, remember you stayed with Grandma for several days, which you always did after finishing each school year. Grandma would usually pamper you for a week or so. Remember? At home, your mother slashed her wrist to commit suicide, but she did a poor job of it and didn’t die. She deliberately did this when you were away since she didn’t want to traumatize you. It was midnight, and your father called the emergency service, but it took them a long time to show up. Your father couldn’t wait. He just recovered from a surgery and he really shouldn’t do this, but his temper got the better of him. So he carried your mother down the stairs. Since it was midnight, the elevator was shut down. He had to carry your mother down five floors and he ended up spraining his ankle.”

“Really? My mother? I didn’t know about this. How did you know?” Arjin asks.

“I questioned Aunt San, who told me everything.”

“How come she didn’t tell me? How come my father didn’t tell me?” Arjin gulps down another bowl of rice wine.

“Anyway, Grandma thought it was best for you, an 11-year-old boy, to go to live with my family for a while when your parents recuperate. They were not able to take care of you. So she convinced my mother to take you away. Several months later, when you came back, your parents looked normal, but your mother was never really the same. She attempted suicide two more times within five to six years without success. Finally, she realized that she was not able to finish herself off with a knife. So she convinced your father to go on vacation in Penang Island. There is one part of the beach and ocean there that’s particularly dangerous and treacherous. Locals all know where it is and how to avoid it. One day she went swimming there and never came back.” Now I’ve told him everything.

“What? That’s unbelievable. That can’t be. I don’t believe a word you are saying. I don’t. I think you are making up stories. How do you know? This is not true. My mother died of an accident and I forbid you to tell other people that she killed herself. I forbid you. You like to badmouth about me and my family. I know you do. You have always been a crazy girl. I just don’t believe you at all.” Arjin says.

Before I can say anything, Arjin runs to the door, opens it, and disappears into the cool night air. I think he will come back to talk with me, but I wait for several days and he is not coming back. Then I receive a message from my Uncle Big, Arjin’s father, asking me to show up in a family gathering that weekend.

“What is this all about? Probably my relatives want to stone me to death… if not physically, at least mentally or metaphysically.” I tell myself. I don’t want to go, but I know I can’t avoid this confrontation.

(To Be Continued Here)

8 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 17)

  1. Nalan did the right thing – revealing the truth. It’s definitely difficult to digest but that’s life and one must face it. I hope she isn’t condemned, but I know she won’t take it lying down. Great curve in the story.

    Liked by 1 person

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