Family Short Story – The Healing
Anne woke up with a jerk..
Philip heard a big shriek…And more than the flavor of the chocolate pudding dissolving under his tongue, it was Anne’s freaky sound which gave him the real flavor of ecstasy…
“Mum, look Philli has been up to no good today again.. he tied my pigtails to my bed..” Anne furiously banged upon the kitchen..
Mum was a slender woman with rough hands evidencing toil throughout life…She cleaned her hands on the plaited skirt and silently put on her gloves…Anne’s fuming faces were invisible for her, perhaps she herself wanted to be invisible..She put the beef out of the oven and simply carried herself to the dining room, Anne expectantly following her..
“Philli, downstairs , fast..”
Philip tucked the pudding behind his books, obviously he had been stealing it without his mother’s knowledge…
He quietly finished the food without looking at his mother, though leaving a small giggle at Anne’s red face…
“You’re coming at the farm with me Philli, we need hands..” Mum coldly looked at Philli..
Anger bubbled in his mind..Gulping down in his throat..he…
Before Mum could stop him, Philip was out, a bang on the door, loud enough to blast her ears..
Philip raced to the woods, thorns cutting his fingers…still he raced as if some bloodhound dog was after him..and abruptly stopped..
An eagle was hovering across the sky..Philip sat across the pebbles and put his feet in the cold water of the river..Looking up at the sky, he muttered, the salty tears resting on his lips..
“Ted,, are you there, across the sky, flying with the birds?..”
He spent the entire day listening to gushing water and the tweets of the birds, occasionally the screeching of the eagle reminding of a proud king….He put his tiny hands in the river, and the flowing water immediately made way across his delicate fingers.. “Wish, life could easily find its own way out like this flowing water…” he whispered to the waters..
He waited till sunset.. Hunger, which was the only thing that made him find way back home.
As he reached the doorstep, Philip heard a rustling sound behind the tree…he loved the sound so much that for a minute he was lost thinking how beautiful resonance it created..until he saw Anne’s lacy skirt…Anne was lost in the arms of handsomely built young lad passionately kissing her..
“Philli..what are you doing here?..” the blushing Anne whisked the young lad away..
“He was Fred, wasn’t he ?”…Philip sighed
“Yes he was! But you ain’t have any business with it..”
Yes, I suppose, Philip thought, and sulkily climbed up the stairs to his room..
The chocolate pudding looked inviting, but even his hunger had died now..
“Ted, I miss you!!…”
At dawn, Philip found himself sitting on the riverside..quietly listening to the dancing tune of the water, when he heard a sweet melody nearby…So pleasing to the ears, but something was similar…the tune….oh sweet lord, is Ted back?
Philip followed the music…
The flute in the beautiful fingers was perhaps , having the time of her life..Even the air dancing in the holes of the flute was perhaps enchanted by the sound it created..
“You, play really good…but where did you get the…..” Philip was stopped
“The tune, right, Philip?” said the young lad
“ Yeah, how do you know….?
“Anne, she taught me the tune…” the lad turned back to face him
“Fred….you…..Anne, I hate my sister for doing this…”
“WAIT, Philip, don’t say that…”
“You better get your hands off my sister …” Philip retorted and turned to go..
“You have to wait Philli…listen to me …are you being a coward” Fred exclaimed
“Don’t call me Philli…” Rage was about to burst in Fred’s heart
“Anne loves you Philli, for her sake, WAIT!!”
“No she doesn’t!! Only Ted loved me, and he left me alone…..”
Philip’s face was cold with anger, as if he had tasted poison…Anne had betrayed him, how could she share it with anyone else…It belonged to Ted and me…
Back, at home, there was stoic silence..and Philip liked it..no one to interrupt him and Ted..
He clasped Ted’s photo frame across his chest, “Ted, I love you…” Ted was smiling back warmly in the picture… Something , however, pricked him..
He found a note tucked on the backside of the frame…It read..
“ Happy birthday, dear Philli….go to your room and open the closet, your gift is waiting..Open the cards of your life and hope now..Love”
Ted, are you back?? Philip exclaimed
He hurried towards his closet and flipped open the door…Nothing..Ted, are you playing games with me? He ransacked the entire closet, in vain…heaving an air of disappointment…he read the note again…reread it …but alas! When suddenly it ticked his brain, card of life and hope…yes!!
He ploughed inside his closet again, the card which Ted had given him was sitting in the drawer waiting for him..
“Whenever, Philli, you’re sad and lonely, open this card of hope…” Ted had told Philip Philip he was just six..
Philip opened the card, and as expected, found a note hiding again..
“ Good work Philli…I knew you would find out, wait is over, open my room and indeed your gift is waiting…”
Ted, is back, he is waiting for me in his room!!! Phillip’s heartbeats raced along with his anxiety to see Ted back…
As he opened the room…he smelled the most beautiful fragrance ever. The room was adorned with flowers and walls read “Happy Birthday, Philli…”
And what was waiting for him was the biggest surprise of his life..
A handsomely coated piano was sitting silently in the middle of the room. A long red ribbon was tied loosely around it…Ted’s old music notes placed on it were dreamingly looking at him, with pride…
A small note pasted on it read –
“ Keep the music alive Philli….don’t go away from it..it will heal you, heal us..you’ll keep Ted with us through your music..Philli, we love you very much…and we know you love music…It was a blessing Ted gave you, don’t let it go away like Ted..He might have left us, but his sounds will keep reflecting in your fingers…Happy Birthday, Love, Anne”
Anne, in her violet gown, silently watched behind..
“I am sorry, Anne…”
“ Philli, don’t be…its Fred who helped me ….we wanted it to be as special as your music..the void in your life of Ted, can be filled only by your music…Its Fred who taught me the healing power of music…Ted will never come back, Philli…but Fred can teach you..he’s very good with music.”
“Yes…I know, indeed he is, Anne” Philip hugged her
“Happy Birthday, Philip…” Fred coyly said
“You can call me Philli….I am sorry Fred.”
Mum returned back home after a hard day, Philip was beaming….
“This is for you…Mum…and Ted”
“Today, my music will heal you..Mum…”
“When I was no one
You were the only one…
When I was someone
You were everyone…
When I was alone
You were the only one..
When I was the only one
There were everyone
But you were alone…
Today, when I am again no one
You were the only one and everyone…”
—– By Neha B Deshpande