Ryan and Dylan zig-zag through the narrow alleys that form the foundation of their town. Throughout their way to their home, Dylan kept figuring out the hollow in his heart. He was still new to all the feeling no-feeling thing. Maybe the trade wasn’t so bad after all. Deep down his brain understood one thing though that Dylan was getting good at lying to himself.
Just as the boys turn the final corner to their home, Ryan turns backs to face Dylan squarely in the face, “Why are you not meeting my eye? And why is that you look like an expressionless person who has no excitement to see his brother after ages?” Dylan shakes his head to communicate his no.
Ryan continues, “Are you sure you are happy to see me? What’s up with the brother who is always lit with excitement to see me? I know we’ve met less, but I know that you are always happy. This time there is no trace of the excitement at all.” Dylan continues to shake his head, his eyes trying to scream out the words that his mouth could not utter in time. His insides crumble, getting worried that his brother might think wrong of him.
Then Ryan adds, “Are you okay? Or is it that you have grown-up, so you feel that it is childish to be happy to meet a relative?” Words finally claw their way up through Dylan’s throat, and he speaks up, “No, why would you think such a thing? Why wouldn’t I be…” But Ryan interjects, “because your face doesn’t say so? Are you tried, maybe? Sleepless night?”
Glad that he can give a suitable explanation, Dylan takes the crumb and makes it his reason for not being happy enough. “Yes, yes. Long night it was, and it was hot, you’ll see. It’s very hot here these days.” At this Ryan lets his suspicion go, and suggests, “Who would know about heat and summers more than me?” He smiles his light laugh and heads to meet his mother.
Dylan suddenly feels a pang of guilt for having said that. Or maybe he assumed that that is what he should be feeling. It must have been a guilty thought that must have tried to encourage a regretful feeling to rise. But, unfortunately, nothing came. No guilt, no regret, no excitement or happiness. That’s how the bargain was struck.
It’s not that Dylan was not merry to see his brother. It was that Dylan was not able to feel the happiness travel down his veins to excite his expressions. It was only a hole that floated on the inside. No feelings, no nothing. That’s where the young boy understood the magnitude of what he had done.
It wasn’t strange at first. But it sure was now, as he learned that he really was not able to feel anything. It was his mind that was thinking up the feelings, but no feelings were coming to the surface. As if a dam had been sealed shut and regardless of the force of water behind it, no cracks appeared on the surface. None at all.