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  • Writer's pictureAvani Venkatesh Kumar

Mark and Aaron

Mark turned around as he heard the door to the terrace open and saw Aaron walk in. His face looked a little flushed because of the cold, the tip of his nose pink. He looked at Mark and smiled as he walked over. Mark was standing by the railing of the terrace. It was surrounded by tall skyscrapers, glittering and alive against the black night sky. Aaron finally reached Mark’s side as Mark turned to face him. The weight in his chest seemed to ease a bit upon seeing his younger brother.

Aaron looked at him with his green-tinted brown eyes and said “Hey”

Mark inclined his head, giving a slow nod. “Hey. Thanks for coming”

Aaron shook his head. “Don’t thank me. I’m always free for late-night, rooftop talks”

Mark raised his eyebrows, a small smile playing on his lips. “Was that sarcasm?” he asked his brother.

Aaron grinned his typical boyish smile.

“It did come out that way, but I actually meant it,” he said.

Mark smiled wider and shrugged. “If you say so.”

He turned slightly away from Aaron so that he was looking at all the skyscrapers in front of him. They shimmered in front of his eyes.

“So, what’s up?” Aaron asked.

Mark didn’t turn around, but he whispered, just loud enough for his brother to hear. “I had a bad day at work today”

Aaron turned towards him, his waist resting against the railing. “A bad day?” he enquired conversationally, but his tone had dropped too.

Mark rubbed his nose before answering. “You could call it an ultra-bad day then, I guess.”

Aaron spoke in the same voice he had used before. “What happened?”

Mark exhaled, his breath forming mist. “I messed up at work, lost us a big client.”

There was silence for a while, then Aaron broke it. “Mark-“

Mark interrupted him. “Don’t say it’s going to be fine,” he said in a slightly quavering voice.

“I wasn’t going to say that.”

Mark finally turned towards Aaron, so that now he was looking at him.

“Then what were you going to say?”

“I was going to say that it won’t be fine until you make it fine”

Aaron’s voice was steady, his eyes seemed to glint under the beam of the fluorescent lights lining the building. Mark shrugged.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, try getting them back.”

“I told you, we lost them because I messed up. They probably already went to someone better” Mark said, sarcasm creeping into his voice.

Aaron shook his head again. “Do you know that?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Then, try finding out,” Aaron said calmly.

“This isn’t as easy as you make it sound,” Mark said, finding it difficult to keep the anger out of his tone.

“I never said it was going to be easy, but it will be a start” Aaron finished, in a softer voice.

Mark was silent for a while. He agreed with Aaron, but that didn’t help with the guilt or the sense of failure.

“What if they found someone bigger and better?” Mark broke the silence. There was a distinctive gleam in Aaron’s voice before he spoke this time.

“Then you find someone bigger and better too.”

Mark smiled despite himself. “You sound like you have it all mapped out for me.”

Aaron laughed.

Mark felt a rush of fondness for his brother. “You sure you don’t want to take a shot at the corporate world?” He asked, moving to rest his back against the railing, the chilly wind ruffling his hair. Aaron smirked.

“I’ll pass.”

Mark simply inclined his head again, as Aaron grinned and looked down at his shoes.

Another wave of silence.

This time too, Mark was the one to break it, because he hadn’t asked his brother all that he had wanted to.

“Aaron, can I ask you something?”

“Sure, what is it?”

Mark gulped before continuing. “Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you try, you just keep falling short? That you can’t seem to cut it, no matter what you do? I don’t know, I keep feeling that way with people at work.”

Aaron looked at him for a long time. He seemed thoughtful, but his posture was alert. Finally, he started speaking.

“I have.”

“Who made you feel that way?”

Aaron paused again, a strange look creeping into his eyes. He glanced away for a second, then looked at Mark, biting his lip slightly before he spoke. His eyes looked straight into Mark’s, green eyes into black ones. The look in them was hesitation mingled with clarity, an unusual combination. He spoke finally, not breaking eye contact.

“You did.”

And the air rushed out of Mark’s lungs.

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