"Mr. Steven, Get up!!" Dr. Marie kept on yelling. She took me in her arm. She was crying. I could see her wet eyes.
She was a doctor by profession. She used to come home often, as my father was ill...He liked her and wanted her to be with us in every ups and downs of life…Be it Schaum (my elder brother, who was 14 at that time) or my father, everyone admired her. I loved her too as she used to give me my favorite chocolate every time she came home...
I was 8 when my father died. He was suffering from disease called Progressive Myopathy (incurable those days). It’s a duhan disease. Only few people knew about it at that time. Soon after father left us Dr. Marie moved into our house. We needed her and in some way she too was in need of our family. I was too small to understand the word 'death'. It was a new word for me. I used to ask my brother, “Where is father? He promised me to take for ride this summer; he said he will be alright”. He was unanswerable.
Time went on, I tried to move ahead but time was holding me tight.
Same scene happened few days later. One day when I came back from school, I saw Dr Marie weeping. I quickly went to her and asked, “Aunt what happened?” She didn’t reply, remained moan for hours. That day I could see my brother in the same dreadful condition as my father was. He couldn’t move himself, could not eat anything, his condition was getting worse day by day.
Every time he woke up from his sleep, he tried to find me with his blue eyes. I remember he had sparkling blue eyes which could captivate anyone. Earlier, when he was well, we used to go to the beach every weekend. He just loved beaches. As an elder brother, he used to hold my hands. We used to walk for hours at the beachside, play with sand and fight over collecting shells and pebbles. He used to push me in the waters, which I hated the most. There was a bench near the shore. It was his favorite place. He used to sit with me there and used to say, “I want to become a doctor, just like Dr Marie. The other day she was telling me that there is some incurable disease called ‘Progressive Myopathy’ on which she is doing research. I want to do the research too on such kind of diseases." Out of curiosity I used to ask "Brother who is a doctor? What is a disease? What is research?" He always gave a little smile and said “You will come to know about each and everything Joan, be patient.”
“Where are you Joan?” I could hear the whisper clearly. I ran quickly towards him and asked, “Brother were you calling me?”He tried to hold my hand. I held him tightly with my arms. He smiled, with his dull face continuously gazing at me. He asked me to come near him and said "Joan, you remember, I told you about a disease on which Marie Aunt was doing research.” “Yes, I remember brother.”“I always dreamt of becoming a doctor but now I couldn’t. That disease killed our father and now it’s me.” As he said those words, blood in my veins freezed . I could see the pain in his eye. I held him tight and said, “You don’t worry brother. I will never let you go. You will be alright. We have to go to Marona beach this weekend. You promised me bro”. Tears rolled down my eyes. It was the last time he spoke to me and those were the last words of him. The very next morning Marie Aunt told me that Schaum (My elder brother) passed away last night. I went near to him. He was completely blue and cold. I was trying to wake him. But he was in deep sleep from which he could never ever wake up. That night, I decided that I would be a doctor some day. I would realize my brother’s dream.
The day when my brother expired hurricane ‘Isabella’ hit the sea. It was a complete disaster all around. Many people lost their life due to water, and my brother lost his life due to the disease. There was death and hunger all around. It led to emptiness in many lives. There was silence in the sea as well as in the life of many. The sea became normal after few days and I was back to my monotonous routine. Marie Aunt and I now moved to Seattle, 100miles from our home town. I forgot the bad days of my life. But the only thing I remembered was the word ‘doctor’. I grew up with the determination of fulfilling my brother’s dream.
Years passed and it was my 16 birthday today. She made my favorite garlic toast that morning. We went to the church for blessings and after that I went to the nearby park behind my college to spend some lone time with my favorite bench there. I had already decided to realize my brother’s dream. While sitting I was recalling my past. I had no friends in Seattle. All I used to share is with it was with my ‘bench’. In every phase of life, it was there with me. Never demanded anything just listened to me. It was my last visit to the bench as I was moving out of the town for higher studies.
I studied hard for next 8 years and became doctor. I then got a call from ‘American Institute of Research and Development’ for my internship. Days went by and through my hard work and determination I finally found out the vaccine for the ‘Progressive Myopathy.’ The very moment I found the vaccine, I rushed up to call Marie Aunt. She could easily recognize the enthusiasm in my voice. “Son you finally found the vaccine, you realized mine and Schaum’s dream. I am proud of you my child. Now come back soon dear. It has been years away from you.” I finally packed up my bags and moved back to town.
Before going to Seattle, I went to my home town to visit my brother’s favorite beach, to visit the place where my brother spent his life, to the place where my brother breath last. It was the brother who took me to that beach every time. But today I was standing all alone. I missed my brother so much. Tears rolled down my eyes. But I was happy after so many years. I finally could realize his dream. I could find vaccine of the disease which ruined many families including mine. I understand that death is inevitable, but I don’t want any Joan to lose his family due to that killer disease.
The same night after visiting my home, I went back to Seattle. I saw Aunt Marie in such happy mood after so long. She was overwhelmed by emotions. She hugged me. She kissed me. If she was not there I would have been nowhere. She bought me up like a mother. She becomes my brother when I need, my father when I miss him. I lost my family but I got her. She threw a big party on my return. I was awarded ‘Young Medical Scientist award’ from ‘Medical Scientists Association’ of America.
“Aunt, thanks for everything.”
She hugged me and smiled, “Son, I should be thankful to you, you made it! I love you my child.”
“I love you too Aunt.”
Cheers spread all around.
I only wish I could do anything for my dad, for my brother. Brother once told me, “You will come to know about each and everything Joan, be patient.” Today is the day when I know it all, but alas, I lost him, I lost him forever…