Thomas  held it tightly, almost tearing it with his sweaty hands. All he did was look up, stare at the paper, and look up again as if asking God, why me? And why now? He did that for three hours. She had been sitting beside him for an hour and she couldn’t help but sympathize with him. She watched him rise up, go for a glass of water and come to the chair he was sitting on.

With the paper on his hands, he looked up and called her. ”I’ve been robbed, Naika,” he mumbled as he tried to control tears which had made his hoodie partially wet. “Death is cruel”, he said,  “I’ve been robbed, he’s gone, he’s gone forever…..,” he whimpered.

Naika felt bad every time he tried uttering a word because all he expressed was pain. She herself felt guilty. Not that She had committed any crime, She felt guilty that the only thing She could do was commiserate with the grieving boy. She couldn’t give him what he wanted, all She could do was condole with him at the trying moment. He wanted his brother back, She couldn’t assist him in any way. It’s only God who gives us life, She didn’t have any powers. “Take a look at this..” he said as he handed Naika the white paper, which was his brother’s death certificate.

His right hand on his chin, his face gloomy and sad as night. He was  feeling hopeless. Tom sat down and stared at the space as he started narrating to Naika.

The sad look on Tom’s face

“We’ve lived together since childhood, we shared everything, we were the closest of brothers around, without him there was no me and without me there was no him. I thought we would celebrate our hundredth birthday together, just like we have done for the past years. I never saw a future without him. How will I cope? We studied and graduated together, we shared the same roof as we were starting to build our careers, why did he have to leave me?” He got so emotional as he was speaking in that he started to wail. She tried consoling him to make him calm down but it was almost impossible, he cried more. He narrated to her how he and his late brother Tony, shared so much in common.

Tom was orphaned  two days after his birth.
His birth, just like of most babies, was good news to the family, there would be a new member in the family, everyone was happy as he was born strong and healthy. His aunt was happy as  a clam at high tide, his dad cheerful as a lark, and him, calm. It was a joyous moment after his father and aunt who had been  at the hospital since his mom went into labor, were informed of his birth. After the successful deliver, Tom’s parents together with his aunt got in the family car and left for home. It was all laughter in the car as they headed home. They all were eager to reach the house so they could celebrate the birth of Tom. After driving for two kilometers however, something awful happened. Tom’s family was involved in a horrendous accident. His dad who was driving, was unable to move away as a trailer which was behind them was over speeding. The trailer hit their car which landed in a ditch. The accident was so lethal that Tom’s parents died on the spot. Tom, being a few hours old, miraculously survived the accident which had claimed his parents. His aunt died two days later while receiving treatment at the hospital. Tom being so tiny could of course not understand a thing. He was later taken to a children’s home where he grew up. It’s at the children’s home where he met his friend Tony, who he took as a brother. Tony was also orphaned at a young age. His parents passed on when he was five years old and so he was brought to the children’s home. Tony was two years older that Tom. He had started school much earlier than Tony but due to his parents demise, he had to take a hiatus as there was no one to pay for his school fees. He continued with his studies after his admission at the children’s home. He had to repeat a class and that is how he landed in Tom’s class. That was fifteen years ago while they were in class four.

Tom and Tony shared the same room at the Children’s home since their primary school years and also happened to attend the same high-school and college. At the university, they selected different courses with Tom majoring in Medicine while Tony wanted to be an  Actuary. They had lived together for so long. They were more than friends. They were best friends. Tom said that they had planned to separate only when they got married, and even joked that they would get married on the same day if it would be possible. Theirs was a tight one. He recalled the day he forgot it was his birthday due to loads of assignments but Tony insisted that they had to celebrate the day even if it was late in the night. He smiled after recollecting the sweet moments that they shared with Tony. But now? Antony was no more. He started sobbing again. Naika gave him a hug , when she saw how deeply Tom was hurt by the loss. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she felt the pain. She wished she could assist him in any way.

Naika trying to console Tom

Tony’s burial was to take place in a week’s time. Tom could not take it. He felt like his world had come to an end.

He wanted to end his life too, but Naika was there, encouraging him to take heart as death is part of life.