The Christmas Eve - 3


He ran out of the room and knocked on his brother's door only to be replied by silence. He unlocked the door and went in, to find an empty dark tidy room, properly neat and in order as if no one has touched it in years. 🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸 He walked into the room and found himself in an almost unknown ambience. He brushed his fingers ever so lightly from the comforter on the bed and to the stacked bookshelves. He walked over to the table and found a framed photo of himself, hugging Nathaniel like a koala bear. Memories rushed back to him as his eyes landed on some old comics that Nate used to read out to him. He turned towards the door, rushing to his parents when he saw his dad standing at the doorway. “Dad,” he mumbled. “Yes, Seb,” his dad's voice calm and contained, “Searching for anything in there?” “Uh...no. I mean not really,” he mumbled. “Okay,” he gave a slight nod and started walking away. “Uh...Dad,” he called again. His father turned around and faced him. His expression clearly asking ‘you wanna say anything?’ He shrugged at the younger version of himself and finally cleared his throat. “You know if you want, we can talk,” his dad offered. “Yeah. Yeah I mean, okay,” Sebastian stumbled. “Even if we haven't been on the greatest terms, you're still my son and I love you dearly --,” “--wait, we haven't been on good terms?” he asked, interrupting his father. “Are we now?” his father teased. Sebastian sighed and asked, “Where's Nathan?” “Nathan is absolutely where he should be,” the old man jammed his hands into his pockets. “Where should he be as in?” “His home, in New York,” he raised an eyebrow at his younger son. “Oh...he moved,” Sebastian whispered under his breath. “Come on, sit down,” he sat down and patted the place next to him for Sebastian. He sat next to his father on the porch. The porch looked over to their beautiful backyard which hasn't changed over the years. He remembers sitting here with his brother once in a while hearing all the fantasy stories. He remembers sitting here just few days ago, sharing dessert with his mother and playing weird-ass games with his father. “So, how's school?” his father broke the silence. “School's nice…,” he trailed off, “So about Nate --,” “--What about Nathan?” his old man interrupted. “How's he?” “Living his dream of being a bestselling author and living the dream is always the best that one can have,” he chuckled. “Woah! Sounds…,” Sebastian paused, “sounds great.” “What do you want to do?” his father asked. “Me? About what?” he had a puzzled look. “Life? Future?” his father shrugged, “You're already in your senior year.” “Yeah…,” he bit his lip, “haven't thought about that to be honest.” “Want to play football again though,” he added immediately. “Okay,” he received a nod from his father and then the silence dawned on them again. This time Sebastian broke the silence by saying, “I have been a disappointment to you and mum, haven't I?” “And where is this coming from may I ask?” his father raised an eyebrow. Sebastian shrugged, “I don't know, just felt like…,” he ate his words again. “No, Seb. You're not a disappointment to us. You're pride to us. Happiness to your brother and a gem to the world.” “But --,” “Yes, we may not always have agreed on everything. We might have a lot of differences of opinion and we might not have been on greatest terms but still, you can never be a disappointment to us,” his father met his eyes and Sebastian felt his heart twitch. “You might have made a lot of wrong choices in your life. You have messed up trying to do everything your way but son, there's always time for picking up the right puzzle piece. Even if not all choices, some choices really make us up but again, in the end, it's who we really are from inside. Your choices can't change the person inside, how you feel about things and how you see the world,” his father said. The silence was heavy and none of them said a word. Sebastian shifted closer to his dad and wrapped his arms around his father. His father patted his back and it was like they were bonding all over again. “No matter what you do or where you go, it's important you know who you are. Just ask yourself, do you know who you are? If not, then ask yourself and don't stop asking until you feel that 'Yes! I do'.” He nodded to his father's motivational speech. A little while later, they called it a night. He stood up and saw his mother standing in the hall. He ran up to her and wrapped her up in a needy hug. “I'm sorry,” he breathed out, “maybe I was just making wrong choices but I'll make it right, I promise.” Before she could say anything, he went into his room and mentally prepared for the next day of school. Morning came pretty fast and so the day at school. Sebastian got pretty chilled with the king treatment he would get at school. The first thing he did the next day was spent as little time as possible with the gang. He attended most classes which were apparently unlikely of the usual Sebastian but he was trying to bring a change in that. He sat on the bleachers during lunch, watching the boys practising football. He jogged down to the field and got hold of the ball. He made the ball dance with his feet and took a shot towards the goal. The ball hit the net, passing the mighty goalkeeper. “Off the field, Gray. It's a team practice,” a bold voice called from behind. He turned to see another boy, apparently a senior too, walking towards him. “You might want to watch your tone while speaking to the captain?” Sebastian chuckled. “Well, Ex-captain because not anymore,” the guy smirked. “Last time I checked the board, it's still me on the board as of last year's captain,” Sebastian mirrored the smirk. “That's last year's,” the guy chuckled. “And this year's not been announced yet,” Sebastian pouted with an innocent look while the guy glared at him. “We'll see,” the guy said in a challenging voice. “Certainly,” he chuckled and kicked the ball one last time before jogging off the field. The days passed quickly. And so did the next one. He sighed a breath of relief as he realised there are just two days left of him being in his messed-up future. The morning of the second last day, he was actually happy that it was gonna end soon. He zoomed down the streets as he was off to the school. He was kind of a loner now as he was reluctant spending time with the gang but was relieved that it didn't change the student's behaviour towards him. They still worshipped the land he walked upon. The football ground was empty as it was still early for school to start. He made a quick run to his locker for change and then made it back to the field. He grabbed the ball and played around with it. He wanted to polish his skills and keep them up to the point. He looked like a cat playing with a ball of wool. He knew what his dreams were and he wanted to live up to them. Live up to what he pictured himself to be. Sweat dripped off his forehead and his football shirt was soaking wet. He grabbed the ball and jogged towards the school. Making his way through the busy corridor, he paved his way towards the locker room. “Ah! Sorry,” a female voice mumbled as she slammed into his hard chest. “It's…,” words stuck onto his tongue as his eyes landed on the girl in front of him. “Charlotte,” he whispered as his eyes were fixated on her. She moved past him and he turned around, his eyes never leaving her back. Charlotte was Sebastian's first ever crush, the first girl he ever liked and he didn't know it'd hurt that much when they wouldn't even exchange a few words. Charlotte walked hurriedly and wrapped his arms around another guy's neck. Sebastian felt angry when he saw the guy wrapping his arm around her waist in a tight embrace. After a moment, he felt more sad than being angry. He felt his anger shift on himself. He felt his heartbreaking silently. Not exchanging words hurt him but seeing her with someone else shattered him. He acknowledged that deep down, he got it bad for her. “I made so many shitty choices that I even lost her…,” he acknowledged and said it out loud to himself, his eyes still glued on her. He gave a sad tight-lipped smile as he watched her kiss her apparent boyfriend. His head hung low over his chest as he concentrated on the floor. The locker room was long forgotten in the back of his mind. He stood there in the hallway thinking he has a lot of things to undo and redo. He has got a lot of things to make every other thing correct. Deep down, Sebastian understood the value of choices and decisions but what about destiny? He wondered whether the change of his choices and decisions changed everything to his favour. What if it's just destiny? What if it's meant to be?

(to be continued...)

Written by: Sanyukta Paul

Illustration: Aninda K. Nanda

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