Sharing The Attention

October 23, 2017
By Anonymous

Maybe she didn’t really want me, just acting to make me happy. Now her complete attention was Aryan and all she could think of was him. I guess I need to leave her alone, but what she did was just outrageous and so unlike her. Holding back my tears, I was sitting on the edge of the bed my temporary room in my aunt’s house, upstairs. I sat with my hands crossed, my head down trying to cover my forehead with my short hair, and wearing clothes that I usually wear at home, kind of like pajamas, but no symbols or bright colors on it. I was playing a programming game, like Scratch, that had to do with using a robotic arm to move boxes from one place to another.

It was raining outside, so I couldn’t go out or to my friends house, 2 miles away. I was fussing like I was a five-year-old, but really I was 9. I would like to say that my aunt lives in a mansion, but really, she lives in a house way bigger than ours: thin but tall three-story building. It was mostly me, but the weather made me grumpy and gloomy. I first got to go two years back for you to understand.

When I had no siblings or cousins, I had all the attention, from my parents, all of my aunts, uncles, and older cousin. But most of that attention, not including my parents, came from one aunt, Aunt Ashu. She was the second oldest, after my mom, to her sisters and brother. Whenever I asked her to play with me, she would always do so, or at least sometime soon after I ask. Sometimes, when my parents say no, she would agree with me, and let me do what I wanted to do.

Two years ago, my sister was born. I wasn’t that sad or angry about my sister taking attention from my parents, because for a month, Aunt Ashu, and Aunt Nita. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents more that Aunt Ashu. It was summer break then, so we got to go to the Happy Hollow Zoo by taking the train and played board games together. Over all, that was one happy month. This always happens to me, but whenever a relative or I leave, I start sniffling like there is dust in my nose, and then I can’t hold the tears back, and I cry all over myself. That very same thing happened after a month of fun, and Aunt Ashu had to leave to go back to Atlanta, Georgia.}
I was here in Georgia to see my new cousin brother, Aryan. Well, I slightly anticipated the same experience I had two years ago with my sister, but it was more extreme than I thought. The entire first week I spent alone, playing darts or Wii in the basement, or playing and reading on one of those no cover Kindles sitting alone for a few hours. I also got to go to Arnav’s house, where first learned about the Minecraft PE version. The second week I was determined to spend with Aunt Ashu. But every time I tried to ask her to play a board game, Wii, or darts with me, she always denied it, but also always had a good reason not to, like “I have to feed Aryan”, or “I have to make Aryan go to sleep” or even “Sorry, but I am super tired. Maybe after I sleep?” But she never did. I knew how busy she was even though my parents helped her, but I wanted to spend time with her.

The reason I was in my room, with the door locked was because she did something I never anticipated her to do because of me. In the morning, she looked really sleepy, not even coffee brightened her face up. We were having a breakfast of pastries that my dad got since himself, my mom, and my uncle didn’t have time to make a breakfast. I was having a cinnamon bun that had a sweet, energetic taste, the type that was going to fuel a happy day. Hmm mm, that’s the life with my aunt. After I was done, I walked out of the dining room/kitchen and spotted Aunt Ashu playing with Aryan in the living room, not reading him a story, but just watching Aryan play on his own, just making sure that he doesn’t put anything in his mouth or bump into something hard that will hurt his tiny, delicate body. For some reason, Aunt Ashu’s shirt was wrinkled, when before she went to her room last night, it was quite clean and good looking, even though it was just a simple nightshirt.

“Can you play a game of Scrabble with me, Mashi(aunt)?” I asked. I put on my happy face, in a way that showed that I wanted to play with her.
“Go play with Papa or uncle, I’m too busy.” she said, sighing like she had a heavy load on her back.
“Doing what?”
“I have to do lots of things, so please go.” she replied quietly.
“Like what, and why not play all together: you and uncle and Papa?” I said not realizing her temper was rising. I thought I saw Aryan smirking slightly. He can’t understand, can he?
“Like feeding Aryan, and looking after him.” She was starting to raise her voice.
“After that?”
“NO, I AM BUSY, go play with your uncle if you want.” She was yelling at me. She yelled at me. Did I make her react that way, I thought. My eyes were swelling up, and I ran up the stairs, into the room, slammed the door shut, and finally locked the door. The sound of the door closing was ringing in my ears, but not as much as the thoughts I had about what just happened.

Back in my room, I was thinking the past and the present so much that I made an error while playing, placing a down-button instead of a left-button. Watching my program fail, I thought about myself, trying to compare this moment with the program. After that, I fixed the program up, but didn’t realize that Aunt Ashu somehow opened the locked door. I only realized when I saw a slight outline of her face, with long, straight hair, on the screen of the Ipad.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, sounding frustrated, not looking up.
“I came to see if you were ok after what I did.” She replied quietly, but this time calmly too.
“I’m fine.”
“No you aren’t, Abhik babu. I am sorry about what I said. I was really tired after Aryan was up half of the night, whining and kicking me.”
“I noticed.” I said slightly looking up, feeling sorry for her.
“All I wanted to say was sorry.”

“It’s ok. Don’t you need to make Aryan some food, or make him go to sleep?” I asked to try to change the topic.
“Aryan has plenty of food and he already took a nap. Now, I want to tell you something.” I nodded yes, not knowing if she was going to scold me again or not. “Your mom had the same burden as you. She took care of me, Nitu Mashi, and Mamu(hindi for uncle on mom’s side). She was a big sister to all of us. Now it’s your turn to take care of Riya(my sister), Ishan(one of my cousin brothers), Siddhant(another cousin brother), and also Aryan. So, do you want to take care of at least two for now and be a big brother?” I nodded again, this time, confidently.
We walked downstairs together, and reached Aryan and Riya. I played with both of them, and smiled after a long time, because Aunt Ashu was right next to me.

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