It has been a rough and tumble weekend for certain, and I was sure there would be plenty of fence to mend along the way.
Erik seemed in a bit of a “funk” and out of sorts during the tram ride home on Friday. Very rarely is he so quiet, so I knew something was amiss. But somehow I knew I had to tread lightly because getting it out of him and having him open up and tell me would be my biggest challenge.
“You know if you want to talk about anything, I’m here for you, little buddy,” I said quietly as we got off the tram and headed slowly home.
Erik just nodded without a word, so I didn’t press any further just then.
Mum gave me the questioning, caring eyes when we walked into the kitchen and Erik just kept on going slowly up to his room without saying anything. Even Terra seemed to question in her own way why she didn’t receive her usually tummy rub greeting from him.
“He seemed fine this morning,” Mum noted. “Did he tell you he doesn’t feel well?”
“He hasn’t said a word to me since we got on the tram, Mum,” I said. “I’ll give him a bit more time and go talk to him. Maybe him and I can walk Terra to the park and have a chat on our favourite bench.”
So, I decided to wait a bit and then “unleash” Terra on Erik.
I attached her leash in the kitchen and told her to “go find Erik”, and sure enough, our smart dog went straight up the stairs and Mum and I heard her scratching on Erik’s bedroom door before there was a click when Erik opened the door and let her in.
I took a quick dash upstairs to my room to drop my tote and use the loo, but unfortunately upon my return to the kitchen, Mum said that Erik and Terra had scurried down the stairs and out the front door without saying anything – Terra leading the way with my still glum brother in tow.
So I gave Mum a quick kiss, grabbed the couple of cookies she handed me and headed out the door after Erik and Terra.
Erik was already seated on our favourite bench when I approached, and Terra was busy sniffing at a few bushes, looking for a choice stick to chew on.
“Want some company, little buddy?” I asked cautiously as I sat next to him and handed him a cookie.
Erik shrugged, silently telling me he really did want company, but just didn’t want to say it. He took the cookie and gave it a little bite, chewing the morsel gingerly and letting out a low sigh.
“What’s wrong, little buddy?” I asked. “You know I hate seeing you all glum and such.”
“It’s not fair, Amar,” He sighed. “Things aren’t the same anymore. Things haven’t been the same since the end of summer holiday and the start of school.”
I was a bit more confused at that point. I was worried it had to do with my Chemo and what I was going through with my cancer. I was so wrong though.
“What are you talking about, Erik?” I turned to look at him.
Tears were running down his flushed cheeks, and he was sobbing so quietly, you could hardly hear him.
“Parker and me,” He whispered. “I really hurt inside.”
“Awww, little buddy. . .” I said, taking him in my arms and holding him as he hugged me hard and cried into my shoulder.
I let him cry himself out, which took a good ten minutes, but I think it helped. Eventually, he eased away from our hug and just stared blankly into the trees across from us as he wiped his swollen, red eyes.
“I thought Parker and me would be forever like you and Ben, Amar.” Erik barely said. “I guess we’re not, huh?”
“I think you two are a lot like us, Erik.” I said. “And I am certain you two won’t stop being forever chums. Things have a way of working themselves out, but sometimes it takes a little time because as you grow up, you find you might have a few more differences. But you and Parker are too much alike to not be chums forever.”
Erik let out a long, low sigh.
“I want to go away to the North Sea with you and Ben.” He said quietly.
“And Parker?” I asked.
“No,” Erik slowly shook his head. “I want to be alone at the North Sea. That’s where you and Ben have the chance to be alone and think. I want to be alone there and think as well.”
Terra brought us her stick, and I took it and tossed it for her to fetch.
“The Sea has a tendency of making one’s mind open up, little buddy.” I said. “That’s a grand choice to want to go there and think. You want me to talk to Ben?”
Erik shook his head. “That’s OK, Amar. I’ll talk to him.”
“You know Mum and dad will be asking why Parker isn’t staying with us this weekend.”
“I know.” He sighed again. “But it’s not like we’re not talking to each other, Amar. It’s just . . . I don’t know, it’s just. . .”
“I completely understand, Erik,” I told him, hugging him into me and giving his cheek a kiss. “I completely understand.”
“Thanks for being my big brother, Amar.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, little buddy.” I said. “Come on, let’s take Terra home and get ready for dinner and our studies. We can study in my room if you want.”
“I may end up spending the night.” Erik smirked.
“I promise not to run out of hugs, then.” I smirked right back at him as we gathered Terra and headed home.
We spent nearly the entire weekend together, and it was really a beautiful thing for both of us. In fact, I think it helped Erik as much as it helped me. We seemed to get to know each other all over again in a new light – An even brighter light.
He did talk to Ben, and arrangements are already in planning for the three of us to head to the North Sea as soon as possible. Of course, that’s not soon enough for Erik, but at least he has that hope of having a serious chat with the North Sea once again.
Ben and I will be there for his support and comfort.
Erik ended up going my Chemo drip session with me this morning, and I will admit, it was wonderful having my little buddy along to give ME comfort for a change.
He really does have a BIG heart, even though it is hurting a bit right now.