I was running late for a meeting, when I suddenly met you little brother,

I couldn’t reach out and touch you

I couldn’t see you grin, showing that much-loved crooked tooth of yours

But I still met you.

I was running late for a meeting, when I met you little brother

I was hurriedly rummaging in my drawer for a hair clip I knew I had in there

I didn’t find the clip, but I found you

As my palm closed around a well-worn leather wallet.

Even before I took it out, I somehow knew it was yours

I remember someone thrusting it into my hands

As they readied you for your final journey

The memories come rushing back now

I remember coming home and putting away the little wallet

In the farthest corner of the drawer

So I wouldn’t find it easily because I didn’t want to.

And on a day, when I was rushing to keep an appointment

You held me back

As if to say, look at me

Look inside me; I’ll show you sides of me which I bet you didn’t know existed.

With trembling fingers, I opened the wallet

You kept your word; I did see you as never before

I saw you in the little bits and pieces of paper inside

Random notes from Mum and Dad to you

Couldn’t bear to throw them away could you?

Dad’s business card – why did you keep that so hidden and so safe?

Why didn’t you ever tell him you were so proud of him?

A preachy note I had written to you on the choices life gives to us

I thought I had written rubbish, but you kept it

What did it mean to you?

I saw photos, all tattered and falling apart

Telling me how often you must have held them, looked at them and put them away.

You always came across as irreverent

Disapproving of display of emotions and sentiments.

Did I really know you little brother?

Till I met you after you had gone?

I wish I had met you when you were around.

I could have at least ribbed you about the softie you actually were!

Bharathi Ghanashyam

 

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