Dawn sneaked in. The early crimson rays of the sun glittered and danced with the currents of the river that flowed beyond the valley. I could hear the baby birds cry for food. I could hear the cock crow. A frog leaped joyously into the pond, creating a whirlpool in the water. An army of ants marched bravely into their newly captured territory.
I could see, not so far from here, a few houses lit dimly, as its people got prepared for work. For as long as twenty years, I have been watching this play, of which nature is the playwright.
I turned and smiled at him. He smiled back. I could hear the elated shouts of children as they played around us. I could hear him laugh as the toddlers bumped at him.
“We’ve been here for so long,” he says.
“Twenty years,” I remark. “And it’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Yet, so lonely. I wish I could go to a country where they celebrate Christmas,” he says curiously.
“Absurd dreams,” I say.
“But I feel this will turn into reality. Very soon,” he replies dreamily. “Won’t you come with me?”
I look away, not impressed by his thoughts.
We had been together since our birth, our bond getting stronger with each passing day. We were orphaned at an early age, when our mother disappeared mysteriously one winter night. Since then we have looked after each other, braving every odd that was set against us, together.
That night, there was a huge commotion. I saw a big machine approaching menacingly towards us. Few people had gathered, as if there was a show booked.
The machine came horrifyingly fast and stopped suddenly, right in front of us. Two bulky men jumped out and started measuring something. We both looked at each other, puzzled.
One of the men signaled towards the machine. Then, as if by lightening, the machine produced a huge devilish blade that swung forward with tremendous force. We both screamed at the same time, horrified. All I remember was the hearty laughs and claps of the people, and the elated shouts of those inside the machine, “Christmas! Here we come!”
I rolled my eyes to my side, to look at him. He wasn’t there. I stood there stunned.
The day broke again, and everything was the same as before. The birds, the cock, the frog, the ants, and the people, all were busy with their routine, not moved even slightly by the incident. I still stood there hopeless, witnessing everything, yet expressing nothing.
I’m a spruce tree. And he was my twin.
*I miss you*
All the mysteries were unveiled that very night. I thought about my mother. I saw the cruel man, laughing at our helplessness. And I saw him, the playwright, the one who choreographed everything. I saw the truck as it sped towards the town, taking my brother away.
*Your wish came to be true, brother. Merry Christmas*
It’s been a year now, and I’m waiting eagerly. For Christmas, for the machine, for the country, for my twin.
~ Manish Mishra | Edited by Afreen Zeb