I had never ever experienced someone else’s pain until I found my brother kneeling on the floor crying his heart out. It was unbelievable, I had never seen Alvin shed a tear in my 22 years of living. Yet here he was, looking defeated, slouching his 6 feet 4 colossal body on his bedside.
For a second, my heart broke for my brother. But this wasn’t the time to bring in my emotions. My brother needed me. I bent down and hugged him from behind. My warm comforting hug must have been the last straw for him. He just looked at me and his cries were the most heart-wrenching sound I had ever heard.
I didn’t know what to do but it was clear as day that he wasn’t going to tell me a word about what had transpired. I didn’t push him. Eventually, after sobbing for a while he said Natalie had left him. I was shocked. Their wedding was literally the following week! What would make a girl cancel her wedding with a man she’d been with for 7years? I was lost in my thoughts when I realized that my mum was joining us. I was always bewildered by how my mum glowed and sashayed like a 20-year-old.
We were a close-knit family. Always had been. Within a few minutes, my father showed up. The four of us were now seated beside Alvin. He had calmed down, or just maybe had run out of energy to shed more tears. We shared banter, ordered out and meticulously avoided the elephant in the room.
He told us three days later. Probably because he needed help in cancelling his own wedding. Of course, we couldn’t let him do this on his own. My mum and I had already started making calls to Alvin’s close friends asking them not to sound super stocked about his marriage. They sounded as perplexed as we all were.
He never disclosed to us what had brought a sudden ending to such a beautiful relationship. His loud infectious laughter was seldom heard. Within 3 months, he had lost so much weight, it was alarming. He packed and booked a one-way flight to Canada on the 1st of the fourth month. We couldn’t possibly convince him to change his mind. Maybe he needs the break we all said. At the back of my mind though, I knew I had lost my brother. We were inseparable yet he was walking away from all of us like it meant nothing.
I stopped skyping him after I admitted to myself that I was the only one who tried reaching out. I was always delighted to see his handsome face but our conversations were not the same. I refused to acknowledge the facts until it dawned on me that he didn’t need me anymore. I reminded him of Natalie, we all did, she had already become part of us.
Five days ago, 5 years two months since Alvin flew out, we received a package on our door. No one in the house had shipped anything so we were all surprised and exuberant as we opened the package.
Alvin always sent us gifts from time to time but it was no one’s birthday and there were no holidays around the corner. I heard my mum gasp after she opened the envelope that accompanied the package. Nothing staggered my mum yet her face was filled with astonishment. Now I was ten times curious as I took the envelope away from her. It was heavier than it looked and as I looked at the beautiful designs on the cards, I could not help how flabbergasted I was.
These were wedding invitations! Alvin’s wedding! For a moment, I couldn’t think straight. He never mentioned his healing let alone a girlfriend. Inside the invitation cards were plane tickets for the three of us.
“I am honestly happy for him, but if anyone dares hurt my baby again, I will commit murder!” My mum exclaimed.
“Mum” I cut her short as she started bickering all sorts of distasteful comments.
“Language,” my dad warned dryly clearly used to my mum’s cursing.
It was surreal. I did not know how to react.
“The wedding is in one month, do you think we should call him?” Dad always being the rational one asked. We debated about it for almost half an hour. A single phone call. My mum was having none of it. “Why should we bother him when it’s clear as day he sent us these invitations just for formality? I am sure he doesn’t want us around!” She muttered. She was overthinking. I always wondered where I got it from but seeing it shine through her that evening made everything make sense.
Eventually, we convinced mum that calling Alvin was the best decision we could have come up with on that rainy day. I placed the Mac laptop on the mahogany dining table and sat next to my dad as we waited for Skype to connect. We were all caught up in our own thoughts. Alvin had distanced himself from us all so it was strange to see his face appear on the screen. However, his dimpled smile and eyes filled with excitement made me forget all the doubts rushing through my mind.
“Oh my baby, come back home!” Trust my mother to always start a conversation like that. Alvin continued smiling through her rant knowing her well enough not to cut her short.
“So you have the luxury of looking better than you already did?!” I interrupted mum. My dad and I knew she had the talent of turning conversations into lectures lately and I wasn’t about to let my brother suffer. We all eased into the conversation, forgetting how long it had been and how apprehensive we had been about making that call.
“Hi, baby” We all heard a hoarse yet feminine voice greeting Allan.
“Oh hey love!” He sounded ecstatic. “Come say hi to my fam. They decided to surprise me, although I know you’re definitely the elephant in the room or should I say rooms?” There was a nervous chuckle and footsteps as Alvin adjusted his laptop to accommodate his fiancee.
Then we all saw her and the gasps that were simultaneously given out confirmed we all saw the same thing. She was drop dead gorgeous! Big brown eyes framed by long bushy and thick eyelashes. I could bet that her face was sculpted by a goddess who drank water and minded her own business. She wasn’t white which I knew mum would gladly mention to him. Her green bodycon dress selflessly showed off her well-endowed body. She looked like she had literally walked out of a Grammy Award Winning Movie.
“Hello, Mr and Mrs Omondi! Hey Samantha!” She warmed up to us perfectly often placing her hands on Alvin’s shoulder proving how in love they both were. They were a sight to behold and so in sync that I wanted to cry. Alvin looked so happy and I could tell our parents noted that too as they eased up on the couple and laughed their hearts out as Marjorie told us the story of how they met.
“After the wedding is done, we were thinking of hosting you guys over for a while as part of our honeymoon plans.” Alvin began. “I think spending time together has been long overdue and because it has been my fault, we could have an early Christmas.” He looked nervous, regardless of how much he tried to hide it.
” I know if you weren’t going to the gym you would be terribly skinny. I can tell you don’t eat enough. It would be my pleasure to come and feed you once again,” my mum said as she accepted.
I honestly expected worse from her and so did everyone else on the call. You could see the relief and excitement in everyone’s face. It seemed likely that things would eventually go back to normal and we would come back to being a close-knit family.
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