He really hated seeing Canopus cry. And, it wasn’t even just because it was essentially like watching himself cry, it’s just…seemingly apocalyptic.
So he was trying to distract himself from their destination by analyzing the completely blank expression upon his brother’s face: he had long-ceased to make lame jokes and contented to staring at his feet or out the window in perfect silence, so Gabriel decided to clear the air.
“Uh, so, how’s –”
“ — Don’t worry, I don’t plan bawling within the next half an hour. No promises for anything beyond that though.”
“Why do you have to know everything I was going to say?”
“You are a bad psychologist.”
They fell back to silence again as Canopus proceeded to watch the hovering droplets of coffee he forgot he was hovering.
“Aren’t you a little too old to still be playing with food?”
“Nah. Keep your eyes on the road, Gabby dear.”
“It’s okay to cry. Let it out.”
“Fuck you,” A scoff, and Gabriel knew better than to poke again until they were there.
It was almost mechanical.
Setting flowers and good wishes and whatever other people bunch together with social obligations. He never liked to linger. He didn’t need a cold slab of marble to remember ma and grandma, “I will…wait for you in the car.”
And so the stone-faced left him to his devices. It had been a well-kept secret for five years and he only cleared his throat.
No need to start every conversation with such, Canopus.
You look malnourished, Canny, have —
— Please, he’s not a child anymore. No need to fuss —
— Well, daughter, I fuss as I please —
“Ha,” Of course, he could feel the knot in his throat again.
Look, you made him cry —
“ — Ma, please –”
— Oh, my dear child.
“I need help.”
The two finally stopped, what is it, child?
“I don’t know what to do. I…if I…have to do it. I’m sorry.”
…No, you cannot burden yourself with such a thing. I do not condone it.
“But…I thought the two of you would be the last…or even I would be the last of it.”
Child, it pains me to see you as such. This is not something a single person can bear.
“I can, mother. I have to.”
…No, let our deaths be the end of it.
“It can’t be. She’s…almost killed gabriel. She would destroy all that I ever exist for.”
…Your father would have done the same. I suppose there’s nothing I can do in the end —
“ — No, that’s not my intention. I wasn’t here to just pass my helplessness to you.”
I think your son is right.
I know. It’s simply a mother’s selfishness.
Then they were gone, every time he feel the earth beneath his feet again, his knees become weak. He dared to breath in life yet he cannot help but wish he was with them. Thousands of “if only”s gritted against his soul and yet all he could do was kneel before cold marble and mistaken the tremor of his hands clutching it as a pulse.
So was this his burden to bear, a spirit raw and bare to agony untold for eternity.
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