The meeting

Her hand was dwarfed in mine, exquisite and tiny, I held it to never let it go. I had never met her before and I still could not let go of her hand. The lights flashed in a rhyme almost, and still I held her hand, voices screamed directions. The calm was complete, her eyes held mine, a smile, a concern, a understanding she was everything at once. I smiled to myself, they pounded life onto me, insistent and righteous they saved my nothing life. Her lips curved as if to murmur love and then the lights stopped flashing and her hand was no more in mine.
“Quentin, how many times must I tell you, no one was allowed inside. The morphine must have made you hallucinate. No one was there” my sister scolded, as she adjusted my sheets and beat comfort onto my pillows. Her voice broke off into sobs, another of many, “ why queenie why that too after mumma died, you would leave me alone”. My sister quite like my mother was ever ready to play the martyr, the injured, the victim. I have never liked her, love we are forced to, conditioned to, trained to but like was mine and I chose to not, twenty eight years have left me with atleast that much.
My ever suffering mother, in between binge drinking and religious retreats, used to attempt to be an ideal; she would bake stale bread and force me to wash it down with curdled milk, she would call me ‘queenie” and muss my hair and whisper her stories, lopsided stories where she was always beautiful and tragic. We were weaned on tragedy. We were taught to respect and rever tragedy for as my mother loved to scoff and say, “without the tragedy, nothing else would matter to be beautiful to be special”. The origin of the tragedy, whether of device yours or supernatural mattered not the slightest to her, the only thing real to her was the suffering and the sorrow and that constant irritant pain, a further reminder to it all. My sister deluded in her sympathies and her older life to mine, loved my mother as if she were indeed the ideal she had tried to be. My sister like all daughters before her, became my mother in cultivated righteousness and guilt pruned to perfection and I was just ‘queenie’ the boy with the sulkiest face in school, the boy who beat up the people who bullied him for a decade, once and only once without uttering a single word, the boy who was never seen or heard except for the glaring sullen silence, silence so angry that you heard it for miles.
Ghost hands pulled at the back of me, siren whispers called to me. Everyone had left, the doctors, the nurses, the family and I lay with the beeping machines, alone in my hospital room. They told me I had died on the sterile table and it was a miracle I was alive, I closed my eyes to them and waited for now. Each time I closed my eyes, I felt her hand, her cool,cold hand in mine; I felt her stare holding me to never let go. I had never in a single instant, a single moment ever felt as much as I did there in that hospital room alone with the beeping machines.
This was the first time, I met Anna.


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