Learning to Love

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. 

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

It takes a very brave heart to let go of something which hurt it, and to forgive and forget and put the hurt behind. It takes a very sensible mind, to convince the heart to do something which goes against it’s basic impulses. When hurt, the first reaction in our heart of hearts, is to retaliate and swing back with the same force and hurt. But, it is only few which can do otherwise.

What had started off as innocent rivalry as to who would impress father more, grew up to become something serious which seeped into their very hearts. The most their father did in their childhood was to ignore this constant animosity between the two. They were brothers, after all, he thought. Fights were meant to happen, broken noses a common occurrence. No matter that he had brought home Nate one rainy day, and regardless of the fact that he showered Nate with more love than his own son. That is just how it is, father would say. Patrick, though initially excited to get a new brother, had eventually turned a cold shoulder on him.

Being just a year apart, both Patrick and Nate grew up right on the same track. However, that was were the similarity ended. Whereas one was cold and vile, the other, calm and tender. Nate would spend hours completing his science assignment, and Patrick would cook up a way to destroy the project in a minute. Nate, aching for a little encouragement from the person he had come to know as father, eventually hardened to his brother’s pestering, which soon fostered rivalry between the two. Whereas Nate would not do anything unless provoked, it was Patrick who looked for any chance to grieve Nate.

As they grew up, their father thought that this irrational hostility would die down, but no, that was not meant to be. Growing up, they had one more thing which pulled them apart. Running. Both national level champions, and both equally excellent at the sport. Losing in any race was never that big an issue, unless the other brother won and when that happened, they couldn’t even remain in the same room together. Whereas the fire in Patrick’s heart grew wilder and fiercer, having suffered enough ignorance during childhood, Nate became softer and quieter. He cut off the outer world from him and kept growing into himself. The more he tried to soften his heart towards his brother, the more difficult it became. One word, one action, one accusing glance from Patrick, and his love and self-control would break down.

On the day of the finals, they both stood on the same track, waiting for the same gunshot which would decide their fate. The race started, and time stopped. They kept running, breaths huffing, one eye always looking for a sign of each other. The last few seconds were spent in a whirl. Nate could see the end was near, his arms reaching out for the ribbon. But then, a push. So subtle that he hardly noticed it, but it was there. He went stumbling down, but looked up in time to see Patrick reaching the end.

He got up, wiped his hands and walked towards the end track. Father held his breath, knowing that Nate would crack. Nate walked up to Patrick, looking him in the eye, eyes gleaming. However, the blow never came. Instead, a pat on the back. Nate patted Patrick and gently bundled him into his arms.

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