A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 18)

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Flash Fiction #163

This is the 18th part. The previous 17 parts are here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Cousin Arjin, Right Now

After leaving Nalan’s apartment, I immediately go to see my father, who’s living in a retirement home not far away from where I live. I call him first, but he’s not answering his phone. My tears almost come, but I tell myself that I have to be strong. My father doesn’t like to see a crying boy or a weak son. He has a steely will himself and he has instilled in me the notion of calm and cool in the face of difficulties. When he did lose his temper, it was a frightful sight, but on the whole, I think he is very much in control of himself. I try to be like him, but often I am not.

It is a retirement community, but each person (or couple) has his abode. When I arrive unannounced, my father is quite surprised. I immediately tell him my conversation with Nalan, and ask him to explain the circumstances surrounding my mother’s death.

He is furious and he says, “I can’t believe this. Nalan is so irresponsible, so nosy, and so vicious. My son, don’t believe a word of what she said. She made it sound like that I was the one to be blamed in your mother’s death, and I covered it up afterwards due to my guilt. That’s far from the truth. I had nothing to do with your mother’s death. My dear son, you won’t think ill of your own father just because a crazy cousin said something, right? Remember how weak your mother was. Women are weak, except your grandma. Your mother just didn’t know how to enjoy life. I worked so hard to build our middle class life, but she just looked me with her sad eyes. Right? She did attempt suicide several times. Fortunately each time she selected the time when you were not at home. And I tried so hard to hide it from you. And when she drowned herself in Penang, I was not really surprised. How could I be surprised? However I was in no position to tell everything to you, who’s still a teenager. I did everything to protect you, my son. I carried all the burden on my own shoulders. You understand me, right? You know Buddha said if one commits suicide, one goes to hell. And I will never admit that your mother killed herself. I will always cherish the pure beautiful image of your mother, like the day when I saw her the first time. She died of an accident and I will not allow any other explanation of that fateful incident.

I am totally convinced that my father is a wonderful man, like he always is. He did everything for me and the family. My mother was a weak person. And her death was very much self inflicted, which shouldn’t be blamed on my father. And Nalan is a witch, who always tries to do something to harm me. Now she is trying to convince me that my father is narcissistic and he killed my mother with his narcissism without shedding a drop of blood. How can I believe Nalan? Of course I won’t believe her. How could she even suggest such a vicious idea? My father did everything he could to make us look respectable and I really want to thank him for that.

My father also tells me that he is going to use the family fund that my grandma left to his care to do something for us. I just name it (or Fanfan names it) and he will pay for it. It could be a gold necklace for my wife Fanfan, or hiring a maid to come in three times a week to cook and clean, or a trip to Thailand or Japan. I send the message to Fanfan. I know she will be pleased and I am confident that she will come back.

Nalan, Right Now

I really don’t want to come to this family gathering that my uncle hosts, but I know I can’t avoid it. I come to the retirement community, where my uncle stays. My uncle doesn’t have to live in this retirement community, but he chooses to. I somehow suspect that he feels lonely and wants to be with other people. Arjin has no problem asking him to live with them, but my uncle, whom I call Uncle Big, enjoys his independence more than familial environment. In addition, I have heard rumors that he is one of the most popular guys in the retirement community. As a narcissist, he likes to love bomb people while keeping people at a distance; he also likes to be love bombed by women. The retirement community is the perfect place for him.

Before coming, I’ve already known that Fanfan has come back. She sent me a message, saying that she’s going home. She misses her son and wants to give her son a good family environment, or at least a semblance of a good family environment. Also Arjin sent her messages to tell her that his father would pay for a maid who would come in to help her with housework. Juggling her job as a nurse, her housework, and taking care of her son was a major strain on Fanfan’s daily life. Arjin sent her message telling her that a maid would lighten her load, which Fanfan concured. Arjin said that she made a poor decision to go away due to exhaustion and she should come back and everything would be OK. Fanfan agreed. So she came back.

When I show up, I realize that this is not a gathering of our extended family, but rather it is just my uncle, Arjin, and Fanfan. I guess this is a meeting to welcome Fanfan’s coming back and to force me to toe the line. One meal two purposes. I am ready to fight my uncle. I know that even if I lose the fight, I am still going to send my message to Arjin, Fanfan, and their son, who need recovery and recuperation from their association with all these narcissists in my family. Arjin is in denial right now, and Fanfan, although more aware of narcissism than Arjin, doesn’t have the strength to fight them. My uncle has grown and ossified into a incorrigible narcissist. I can’t save him, but I can probably say something to help people who are associated with him.

(To Be Continued Here)

7 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Cousins (Flash Fiction Part 18)

    1. Yes, Arjin suffers from that to a serious degree. It is very sad that as humans we cannot exist without certain imagination or idealization or idolization of certain things. it makes one feel good. On the other hand, one really has to do it moderately. Most idols turn out to be disappointing and most ideals are best to be left alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, there are no such things are perfect idols. Everyone makes mistakes and has some bad in them. But when we idolise people and see them as perfect it shields us from the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

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