That Beloved Brother of Mine

I once had a beloved brother; he was the light of my world. He was the little brother I loved dearly and I miss him constantly. I miss his laugh, his warm hugs, I miss his endless jokes and teasing, I miss everything to do with him. He isn't really my blood brother but even that didn't get in the way of us being as close as any brother and sister could be. He was always there for me and I for him, I always imagined him to be around when I got married and of course for his own wedding, yet nothing prepared me for him leaving me so suddenly.

He experienced the worst I must admit, in my eyes and own opinion, the worse way to leave. Having the hope of waking up to see me sitting next to him in the morning. That morning never came for him.

Cedric was getting in the car with one of his friends who had just gotten his P plates when he rang me. He had already passed the offer I gave him of picking him up instead but stubborn as a mule he said he was fine and reassured me that he would be there for the move night I was holding at my house, safe and sound.

It was seven-thirty at night and everyone else had arrived. Each and every one of them could tell I was concerned about something and when I had told them of my recent phone with Cedric they could see why. As much as I trusted Cedric it was his friends' driving I didn't trust. But Cedric was already in the car with his friends and there was nothing I could about it, well, frankly all I could do was pray that he would get to my house safely.

It what now eight-thirty and still no sign of Cedric, the others were already watching movies as I told them to go ahead and start. Cedric hadn't even rung to say he would be late, I couldn't help but feel a little bit anxious, thinking something had gone wrong. Suddenly the home phone rang, my younger brother Gab beat me to it. the next thing I heard was Gab calling me to take the phone down stairs as it was for me. I picked up the phone, and told Gab I got it, hearing the sound of the other phone hanging up as I put the phone to my ear. I breathed heavily and sat down at the dining table next to the kitchen.

"Hello? This is Trixie, who's speaking please?" I asked politely, trying to sound professional. Then I heard a familiar voice on the other end. It was Chris, Cedric's older brother, and judging by his tone something was wrong. Indeed something was wrong; Cedric had been in a car accident and despite his weak state, had clearly stated that he refused to see anyone except for me. I tried to remain calm, yet in a way I knew Chris could tell I was trying to do so. He told me to come to the hospital as soon as I could, he gave me the hospital's name and address and we hung up. After I put the phone down I went straight for my keys, my hands shaking slightly as I did so, making a lot of noise for the rest to hear. I only then realised that the house was quiet, which meant either the movie the group was watching had finished or they stopped it on purpose. I turned around and saw all of them looking at me from the doorway, it was obviously option two. They seemed to be aware that I was going out and the reason they wanted to know.

"I'm going out, I might not come back for a while so don't wait up," I said, trying to keep my voice normal. Justin then came up to me and looked from the keys in my hand to my face, then came closer and brought me into a tight hug. At that time I was trying to picture him being Cedric giving me that hug.

"I can tell something is wrong, and I can also tell its got to do with Ced," He said gently, I relaxed slightly at the sound of his voice, "What happened?" he asked. Justin was another close friend I classified a littler brother alongside Cedric. He was slightly younger than Cedric but from the time I had known them both, you'd think it was the other way around, making Cedric the younger one and Justin the older one. I fought back the tears as I briefly told them what had happened and how I needed to be at Cedric's side right away. Their silence in response to my news was killing me inside, I told them that I was to go alone and that the best they could do was to pray for Cedric's recovery.

Driving there wasn't a drag nor was it dandy. There wasn't any traffic or anything and I wasn't driving slowly, it was my full concern for Cedric that made the drive seem slow. When I finally arrived at the hospital I saw Cedric's family waiting outside what seemed to be his room. I greeted everyone with a hug and Chris led me into Cedric's room. When I went inside, Chris didn't follow me, he remained outside and closed the door once I was a couple of steps in Cedric's room. I always hated hospital rooms, they always had a dim light beside the hospital bed and the windows were always closed and draped by plain colored curtains; as if to enclose you in the small room it already was. Cedric's room was slightly different, for one the light was slightly brighter and the curtains were open, instead you could see the invisible curtain of stars in the sky. As I took a couple steps closer to Cedric's bed, he questioned who it was, clearly stating he didn't want to see anyone else but me. I felt really special inside to hear this coming from his own mouth, leaping for joy inside that he wasn't so weak that he couldn't talk. As I stepped closer to his bed I replied with just two words. "It's me," the moment Cedric heard my voice he turned his head slightly, I could tell he could see right through my fake smile. He could always tell if I was upset, worried or angry. Right then I was so worried about it and it was obvious it showed clearly on my face as I could see Cedric's eyes flicker a tinge of guilt and sadness. But how could I not be worried? He was hooked to a machine, beeping as his heart continued pumping blood through his body, he had bandages covering his cuts and he had shades of purple all over his body. Even though all I could see his top half of his body I could still tell that his bottom half was just as bad as his top half. Cedric tried in all his effort to cover himself more to hide his injuries having followed my gaze as the silence between us continued. But because he was still weak and too wired up, his effort was wasted; so to save him the trouble I fixed his blanket for him. Gently touching each cut or bruise I could see as if to some how heal his wounds and take away his pain. It seemed that every time he moved himself, the pain from his injuries would respond. I tried so hard to hold back my tears but it was just so hard. Cedric had always told me he never liked to see me cry. To him it was his unsuccessful attempts to cheer me up going down the drain and his failure as the little brother I had always called him. I didn't dare look at him whilst I shed a couple of tears. Cedric, with all his might pulled me closer to him and wiped my tears with his hand, just like he had done so many times before. I could tell this was hurting him not only physically but emotionally as well. He turned my head to face him, the guilt in his eyes shining brighter than the sun during the daytime.

"I'm sorry for not listening sis. I'm sorry for not taking your offer before," Cedric said sadly, his gentle voice echoing through my ears. I just looked blankly at him, a couple more tears falling from my eyes. I could tell Cedric had the urge to just pull away the wires he had on him and pull me into a tight hug like he usually would do but he couldn't. I gave him a small smile and the kissed his forehead, making it last longer than usual. I saw him close his eyes as I did this, as if to savour the moment whilst he could. He did have a girlfriend who would gladly do all this for him but right now it was just my little brother and I. Him and his girlfriend had been going through some tough times seeing as his girlfriend had somewhat been jealous of our close relationship. Saying that we were way to close and comfy to just be only friends. But in defence Cedric would always point out that him and I were more than just friends, we were brother and sister and no one could ever take that away from us.

"I'm so sorry Trix. You knew I wanted to come right?" Cedric tried again, but I just laid a finger on his lips, that small smile still on my face, and pulled him into a gentle hug. Much like a mother to her child when they had just woken up from a nightmare. Frankly I could tell, to Cedric this was a nightmare and he would do anything to just wake up.

"Don't be sorry for not being there. You were always there when it counted and you being here and well is enough for me already," I replied softly to him as I stroked his head gently, as I said this I could feel his body slowly loosing its tension.

"I don't want to die," Cedric said so suddenly, I was shocked, and totally taken off guard. He was now 18 and I was 22, well turning 22. Being such a young man with such a huge future ahead of him, hearing this coming from his mouth was the biggest shock of my life. He was always the one talking about living life like it's the best thing in the world. Yet now he was talking the complete opposite or along those lines anyway. I began stroking his hair again, kissing him gently once more on his forehead, seeing an image of the 13 year old he once was. Holding onto to me tight not wanting to let go when it was time for me to leave. It was because he knew he wouldn't be seeing me for a while, 2 months to be exact, as I was going to LA to visit my cousins. I smiled shortly and then pushed Cedric slightly and gently to look at his handsome face. He had become quite the looker, it being the reason for every girl melting on the spot for just taking one look at him. His brown eyes just stared back at me and I smiled at him again. He responded by kissing me on the cheek, making it long and meaningful. But something about his little sign of affection was different; it wasn't the usual lively kiss on the cheek I always received whenever we saw each other. It was a sad one, much like as if he was saying goodbye.

"Look at me Cedric," I said suddenly, shocking him this time. I never called him by his full name unless it was something serious. "Why are you thinking like this? You're not going to die," I asked him curiously. This was where Cedric shed a couple of tears, with me wiping them away from his baby face. He stopped my hand on his cheek with his hand resting lightly on mine; he held it for a while and then kissed it, as if wanting to remember this moment from now until forever.

"I heard the doctors talking about my condition with my parents. They said it wasn't looking too good," Cedric replied sadly. In my mind I refused to believe it, he was sitting here right in front of me and he seemed to be well since he was talking to me.

"Well you promised you won't ever leave me and therefore you must keep that promise," I said whilst smoothing his blanket, Cedric could tell I wasn't really accepting what he had said.

"Trix I'm serious," Cedric continued in a serious tone.

"And so am I," I replied looking straight at him in the eye.

"But you don't understand! What if I do go? Where does that leave you?"

"It doesn't leave me anywhere. Because it'll be like I'm not living any more either!"

"Don't you dare commit suicide just because of me!"

"Oh no. I promised you I wouldn't even think of doing that and I plan to keep that promise. What I'm trying to say is without you here; I won't be able to live little brother. It's going to be hard, its not like I can just easily forget you and move on. There's more to it than that," Cedric remained silent after my little explanation, I continued to smooth his blanket out even though it was as smooth as it could be.

"Just don't leave me here ok? I want you here with me in the hospital," Cedric said softly

"Darling as if I'll be allowed to stay here with you tonight. You're 18 now, you're a big boy now,"

"I don't want to be a big boy anymore then! I want you to stay here and they have to abide by my requests!"

"Ced, please be reasonable?"

"Ok fine,"

There was a silence between us, as we listened to the wind outside and the noises of carts being pushed and people passing by the door.

"I love you sis," Cedric said sadly as I stared at the window, I turned to look at my beloved brother, seeing the sadness in his eyes. I came closer and pulled him into another hug, this time he rested his head on my shoulder near my neck and I just stood there holding him. Usually it was the complete opposite. In our younger years I always used him as a pillow with his arms being my blanket on the usual car rides home. Yet now it was his turn.

"I love you too baby brother," I replied, trying not to cry,

"I love you more than a fat kid loves cake," he replied jokingly, I breathed at ease knowing was ok to make a joke like that.

"I love you more than anything in the world,"

"I love you more than that,"

"I love and cherish every moment I get to spend with you,"

"So do I,"

"You love and cherish every moment you spend with yourself?"

"Uh no!" Cedric said sarcastically, "You know what I mean!"

"Yes I know little brother,"

"Older sister,"

"Pretty boy,"

"Pretty girl,"

"My boy,"

"I'm going to miss you,"

"Why?!" I asked, sounding quite panicky.

"Cause you can't stay here with me,"

"Oh," I slowly calmed down, "I know bub, I wish but we'll see ok?"

"Yeah, I guess. I feel sleepy,"

"Then sleep? Rest? I'll be visiting you in the morning, early morning. I promise,"

"Ok… I love you…"

"I love you too,"

Little did I know that he was slowly slipping away from me, Chris and his parents came in the room to see if Cedric had calmed down enough for them to see him. They saw that Cedric had fallen asleep on my shoulder and thanked me for coming in on such short notice and before I could reply the sound of a flat tone from Cedric's machine echoed through the room. I panicked and tried to wake up him, Chris ran from the room into the corridor screaming for a doctor. The nearest doctor came, with a team and after 5 attempts of trying to revive Cedric with no response; they took down the time and classified Cedric dead. I couldn't believe what was happening, it was like someone sucked the life out of me. It was five past eleven when my beloved little brother left me. All my hopes of visiting him in the morning and waiting the day for his full recovery slowly began to fade.

Cedric's parents just broke down, Chris was holding me, shaking as he was trying to keep a straight face but it was just too much for him. I just stood there in shock, staring at my beloved little brother.

It seemed like a long time before anyone approached Cedric's lifeless form, I was the first. By then Chris had stopped crying, but his face was paler than usual and he kept his mouth clenched tight, as if he ever opened his mouth a lot of emotions would rush out. I hadn't cried yet, as if hopeful that Cedric would spring to life and laugh at us all for falling for his prank, but no Cedric still lay there motionless. I was the first to approach him; I came up, slowly placing my hand on his. His warmth was still there, but I could tell it was slowly leaving his body.

"Ced? Can you hear me?" I asked, a tear finally made its way and dropped down on his blanket. "Ced? Cedric? This isn't funny anymore?" still no response, I felt Chris place his hand firmly on my shoulder, squeezing it slightly to give the hint that this was real. But I ignored him and continued looking at Cedric. His baby face loosing its life right before me, how I wished to see his face to break into a smile, just once.

"Don't do this to me Ced, wake up! I promised you I'd be here to visit you in the morning so we could talk more and I plan to keep that promise." More tears were escaping my eyes, "Just like you have done for me. You kept your promises, you always kept your promises. Please Ced, don't leave me now," I whispered in his ear, deep down inside knowing he wasn't going to respond.

It was 3 hours before anyone of us thought of leaving. Cedric's parents had to confirm details for the hospital, whereas I remained in the room, Chris stayed with me. I just examined Cedric's face, and thought of how I was going to explain this to the rest. We were a tight bunch of young adults, there was no way they would be taking this lightly. They were all sleeping over so it was bound to be hard to try and pass this off for the night and tell them in the morning. Chris them placed his hand on my shoulder, telling me it was time to leave. I nodded, one last tear dropping from my eyes. I looked at Cedric for one last time, I came up close and kissed him on his forehead and on his cheek for what would be the last time. I fixed his blankets again and then just stood there watching him.

"I love you little brother, and always will. I miss you already," I said to Cedric as Chris led me out of the room. When I heard the door close behind me, I knew that that door would be closed forevermore. Not literally to the whole world, but to me the door to ever see my little brother alive once again had indeed closed. He was now forever gone from the living world and had begun the journey to eternal life, as the priest quoted from his book whilst we prayed over the soul of Cedric. As I drove home I remembered the memorable times I shared with Cedric in the time slot we had. We had known each other for only 4-5 years yet to everyone else by the look of how close we were, it seemed like the whole of our lives. If only we had the whole of our lives to spend with each other. But now things were going to be different, I wasn't going to hear Cedric's laugh any more nor feel his comforting warm hug. He was gone, out of my reach till it was my time to go as well, which I knew wasn't for a long time. Cedric wouldn't have wanted me to join him so soon; he would have wanted me to live on the life he never got to live. Which was what I intended to do, with everything I did in life, whether it was an achievement or a lesson to be learnt, it would be for Cedric, my beloved little brother.