I walked through the garden and the wind fanned my hair across my face and my skirt about my legs. As I stood there looking at the verdant garden, a
feeling of nostalgia washed over me. I remembered how my mother would walk these very paths every evening after dinner as if it was protocol, sometimes with me towing at her heels.
My mother was the epitome of a mountain. Unmoving, formidable, inspiring trepidation in others, judicious, yet loving enough for others to love and respect her in return. But all that changed the day she was diagnosed with a malignant disease that left her embittered, enervated, and emaciated. To make her condition worse, she still had not forgiven my brother for disgracing the family and had openly disowned him, even until death.
My brother had a very audacious, frivolous, pugnacious and flippant temperament, which either landed him on the wrong side of the law or on the wrong side of my mother. Usually it was both. My brother left home when I was five and from thereon I had to listen to constant diatribe from my mother who called him names like "wastrel", "scourge", "ruthless" and "nefarious". I have never known my brother to be any of the above, but he was so enamored with me and I with him. He would make faces that left me buckled over in laughter and I would get jockey rides almost daily.
The sun was now setting and I hurriedly quickened my pace. When I reached home, I found a mysterious stranger sitting on my porch. His back was to me
and I saw his squared shoulders and lean body quite clearly through his green army suit. I climbed the steps and the stranger, startled by the noise, turned around and faced me. His face looked vaguely familiar. Upon close scrutiny, I saw that his dark pupils were etched with hazel brown. His thick lips reflected a smirk and his long, manicured hands reached up to pull back the hair out of his face.
"Cherie!" It was almost inaudible, but I knew I had not heard that name in a long while. It was used by my mother and brother. But my mother was dead and my brother... Oh God, it was my brother! I rushed up the remainder of the steps and clung to him. Tears fell freely like manna from heaven and we stood like that, locked in an embrace as the sun faded away like music coming to an end.