“And what is this balloon filled with?”, my ten year-old nephew asks me as I hand the balloon vendor a ten rupee note. “Helium. It’s a gas that makes your balloon stay up in the air like that.”, I reply pointing to the balloon tied to his tiny fingertip as it bobs over our heads. “That’s cool!”, he exclaims, clearly showcasing the language he’s slowly learning from his father(my kid brother). I smile at him and it doesn’t stop(he’s an adorable kid), he motions his hands up towards me silently asking me to pick him up. As we make our way towards the garden, he doesn’t stop asking questions about the balloon. I reply all his questions, his fascination outlining that of my own son. “When does Roger return from school?”, he looks at me, reading my mind. “Oh, not for another three months Frank.”, I sigh. He senses my loneliness and softly lays a kiss on my cheek,”You have me Aunt Moira”, he grins and then jumps down from my lap and races off as he sees the playground in the distance.
The playground is all different today. It’s all yellow. Or maybe that’s just the colour I end up seeing because it was Joey’s favourite colour, and thus Roger’s favourite too. What’s your favourite colour Aunt Moira?, Frank has asked her once years ago. Yellow, she has quietly replied, why so?, he’d ask. It was your Uncle Joey’s favourite colour, her brother had replied before she had the chance too. Looking up at her brother she had seen something she has never seen before. Hurt. Joey and Marvin had grown so close after meeting for the first time, and through all her pain, and all her suffering, she had conveniently forgotten how much her husband’s death had hurt her little brother.
Frank comes running back,”There’s a pond on the other side that is covered with yellow flowers!”, he exclaims with excitement. “Covered with what?” “White flowers! Hurry up please Aunt Moira” I close my eyes momentarily and then follow his blonde head racing off in the crowd. The Helium balloon is still bobbing over his head. The reflection of the balloon in the pond seems, yellow? And I’m quite convinced we had bought a blue balloon.
“What’s for dinner today?”, Frank asks me without looking away from the ducks swimming in the pond. “Pasta.”, I reply looking down at the back of his head. “Yay! White sauce or yellow?“, he asks with a giant grin on his face. My eyes widen with surprise, “Uh, what is yellow sauce pasta?” Frank looks at me funnily, “I don’t know. I want white sauce pasta!” “Yes yes kiddo okay.”, I replied quietly.
“Do you know what my favourite fruit is? Its strawberry, because it’s yellow!”, Frank tells me on the way back home. I stare at my nephew holding my hand and walking next to me. “Strawberries are pink, Frank.”, I tell him. “I know Aunt Moira, that’s what I said.” I shook my head and wondered what was up today.
As we reach near the gates of my building, Frank runs upto Riley(our guard) and his labrador, Dan. “Look Aunt Moira, Dan’s looking so yellow today!” “Frank,”, I look at him, “What does that mean?” “Aunt Moira, you don’t know what happy means?”, he looks at me worried for a while, and then moves on.
After dinner, I sit down with my brother after we put Frank to sleep and Lily goes off to shop, “You will not believe the afternoon I’ve had.” “What’s up?”, he asks without looking away from his PS4. “Everywhere, the only colour I saw today was uh, yellow.”, I say quietly. He pauses his game and looks at me as I fiddle with my hair. “You know what you’re doing?”
‘Setting fire to your insides for fun, to distract your heart from ever missing him’
I frown at my kid brother, “Can you not quote Daughter?”, “All I’m saying is that you’re constantly trying not miss him, which is wrong, miss him all you want sis. You’re entitled to.”, and he gets back to playing his game. I get up and go to ‘our’ bedroom which is now filled with his pictures, and pictures of us together and pictures of the three of us together. Maybe my brother was right. Was I really trying not to miss him? No.
I’m forever missing him.