On that final eve, my brother was in a standard hospital bed. A dozen people solemnly waited outside his room. I arrived just at ten, two hours before his “death”. It was not the ratty machines that determined the ultimate time for him to go. It never was. I slipped a small object from suitcase to palm, and then from palm to pocket. Strangely, my hands were not shaking. “The patient would like to see you now, sir,” a nurse called.
Frail as he looked, he smiled at me with his ever-so-mischievous eyes. He motioned for me to sit. “So, how does it feel to have lost the bet?” I started. We were always saying that we would outlive each other. We chuckled harmoniously. Then he coughed painfully. Thrice. I produced the object and held it out to him. It was a small button: our past, our brotherhood. We had played games, bet, and exchanged many things with that button. “I thought it was lost,” he gawked. “And found,” I replied. “Yesterday, actually.” “Day…” He stared into the far distant skies of dawn and into the rays of the rising sun. “They told me I wouldn’t make it until sunrise.” He smirked. Understanding passed between us. It was all we had wanted to say. His eyes focused on me again. “Now go forth, brother of mine. I’ll meet you at the funeral next week. Now I must spend my final minutes without the presence of a troublemaker.” We were both smiling through glistening eyes.
I walked away, tears flooding my cheeks. The smile remained on my face. I drove in the direction of the rising sun. I did not look back.
Behind him, the other brother was watching with joyous eyes.
By: Denny Tan