Read Finding Arun Online

Authors: Marisha Pink

Tags: #fiction, #spiritual, #journey, #india, #soul, #past, #culture, #spiritual inspirational, #aaron, #contemporary fiction, #loneliness, #selfdiscovery, #general fiction, #comingofage, #belonging, #indian culture, #hindu culture, #journey of self, #hindi, #comingofagewithatwist, #comingofagenovel, #comingofagestory, #journey of life, #secrets and lies, #soul awareness, #journey into self, #orissa, #konark, #journey of discovery, #secrets exposed, #comingofrace, #culture and customs, #soul awakening, #past issues, #past and future, #culture and societies, #aaron rutherford, #arun, #marisha pink, #odisha, #puri

Finding Arun

FINDING ARUN

Marisha Pink

ISBN 978 0 9926283 2 1

SMASHWORDS EDITION

Published by Not By The Book 2013

Copyright Marisha Pink 2013

marishapink.com

notbythebook.co.uk

 

Marisha Pink asserts the moral right to be identified
as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988.

 

This publication is a work of fiction. All names and
characters are a product of the author’s imagination and any
resemblance to any real persons, living or dead, is purely
coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any
form or by any means, now known or hereafter invented, without the
prior written permission of the publisher.

 

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment
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Thank you for respecting this author's work.

 

 

CONTENTS

Dedication

Part One:
Aaron

Part Two:
Arun

Join the
conversation

About the
author

Acknowledgements

 

 

For Mum and Dad, who always help me find my way.

For Aji,
who can always be found in my heart.

 

 


Go confidently in the direction of your
dreams.

Live the life you’ve imagined.’

Henry David Thoreau

 

PART ONE
AARON

 

 

ONE

 

THE warmth of the sun’s rays gently caressed Aaron’s
eyelids through the window and even with his eyes closed he could
see the hazy yellow and orange hue of the morning. For a split
second the new day glowed with promise, but as he lay in his bed
and blinked his eyes open, the now familiar stinging sensation
brought with it the pain of realisation: she was gone.

He closed his eyes once more while a sinking feeling
swept over him and the crushing heaviness in his chest became
almost unbearable. He swallowed hard, willing himself not to cry,
but silent tears pooled in the corners of his eyes and began to
roll stealthily down his cheeks. He breathed a deep sigh, desperate
to steel himself against the oppressive pain. It hurt like nothing
had ever hurt before and no matter how many times he replayed the
events in his mind nothing would change. She was gone and he hadn’t
had the chance to say goodbye.

Brushing the tears from his face Aaron propped
himself up on his elbows to survey the room. He hadn’t been there
for months, yet in the short time since he’d returned home it had
become difficult to coax him from the only room in which he felt
truly at ease. The bedroom provided his only escape from the scores
of visitors who had descended upon the house to pay their respects
to his late mother. Unable to recall ever meeting most of them
before, he neither wanted nor welcomed their intrusion, and with
his mother gone even the faces that he did recognise seemed alien
to him now.

Aaron had always felt uncomfortable in social
situations and those involving his mother’s affluent and
ever-expanding circle of friends were amongst the worst. He was
well-mannered, impeccably groomed and boasted an intellect far
beyond his nineteen years, yet these things were never enough to
disguise one simple truth: he would always be the brown kid in the
white room. Over the years her various acquaintances had each been
careful to feign indifference to, and even unawareness of, the
discord between the colour of his skin and that of his adoptive
mother’s. For her part, she had loved and raised him as her own,
fiercely challenging anyone who so much as threatened to look at
him the wrong way, but inside he knew the truth. He would always be
different and nothing he could say, or do, would ever gain him
genuine acceptance into her world.

With his only ally gone Aaron felt awkward and
alone, and despite his best efforts he found the conversations with
mourners an increasingly tedious inconvenience. It wasn’t that
their condolences were insincere, but without his mother’s
mediating presence the exchanges quickly turned to idle chatter,
uncomfortable silence, or a curious mixture of both. There was no
longer a need for either of them to tolerate one another, yet each
visitor persisted in their half-hearted attempts at conversation,
trying and failing to forge a meaningful connection with him.
Eventually he would tire of the charade and, finding any excuse to
extract himself from the strained interactions, swiftly retreat to
the safety of his room, certain that nobody was actually missing
him.

In the confines of his room it was almost possible
to pretend that nothing had happened. To pretend that his mother
hadn’t fallen sick and that he hadn’t really left London to
volunteer in Namibia all those months ago. He hadn’t wanted to
leave her, but she had been insistent that he continue with his
plans, assuring him that she would make a full recovery. As a
doctor herself he’d had no reason to doubt her, but the other
doctors had reassured him too; expensive doctors who were adamant
that they had ‘caught it early’ and that it was ‘amenable to
surgery’. Except that they hadn’t, and it wasn’t, and seemingly
overnight her condition had transformed from fixable to fatal.
Everything had happened so fast that it was almost a blur in his
mind. For days he had tried desperately to get home, hitching rides
with strangers and sleeping on airport floors, all the while
praying that a flight would become available. But by the time he
had arrived home it was already too late.

He sat up fully in bed pulling the duvet towards his
chin to keep in the warmth. Over a week had passed since his
mother’s burial and with visitor numbers showing a steady decline
in recent days, he was hopeful that today he would finally be able
to move about the house without being accosted. Aunt Ruby, his
father’s sister, was the only one who remained, having flown in
from Australia to assist when his mother’s condition had initially
deteriorated, but she could hardly be described as a guest. She had
made herself at home, instantly taking charge of running their
large Georgian house, and without her intervention Aaron was
certain that his father would have fallen apart completely.

Of the little extended family that they had, Aunt
Ruby was the only relative that Aaron both liked and trusted. As a
child, each time his mother had been called overseas to present her
research at a conference, Aaron had been packed off to Australia to
stay with Aunt Ruby for a few weeks. Over the years they had grown
very close and though Aaron’s visits had become less frequent with
age, their relationship was still much stronger than the one that
he shared with her brother.

Aaron couldn’t recall ever being close to his
adoptive father and it had quickly dawned on him that the expensive
trips to Aunt Ruby were simply a way to relieve his father from
having to engage with him whilst his mother was away. His father’s
role had always seemed perfunctory; there was minimal interaction,
none of the love or warmth that one might expect to receive from a
parent, and in a telling act of detachment the old man insisted
that Aaron call him by his first name. It baffled Aaron how his
father and Aunt Ruby could have developed such contrasting
characters, but never more than in the last week had he been
grateful for their differences, and for the buffer that Aunt Ruby
provided between them.

 

He swung his long limbs out of the bed and rose
unsteadily to his feet, carefully stooping to avoid knocking his
head on the exposed wooden beams that zigzagged across the ceiling.
At nearly six feet tall he would have made an impressive figure, if
it weren’t for his lanky, boyish physique, which often fooled
people into thinking that he was much younger than he was. He
picked his way cautiously across the room avoiding the piles of
clothes, plates and luggage strewn haphazardly across the floor,
and on safely reaching the other side, rounded the corner into the
en-suite bathroom.

Catching sight of himself in the small vanity mirror
he was somewhat startled by his appearance. His once neatly
groomed, coffee-coloured hair was now an unkempt, overgrown mess
that stretched in every direction imaginable about his tanned face.
Two dark halos encircled his warm hazel eyes, a testament to the
grief and suffering he had experienced in the past week, and an
army of protruding hairs threatening to turn themselves into a full
beard had laid claim to his jaw. He turned on the tap and splashed
cold water rhythmically over his cheeks, the coolness at once
inviting against the stinging heat of his bronzed, tear-stained
face, and immediately he felt his mood begin to lift. He patted his
face dry and, returning to the bedroom, scoured the rubble until he
found a crumpled white T-shirt and a faded pair of grey tracksuit
bottoms, which he deftly slipped into as he made his way towards
the door.

Padding barefoot down the two flights of stairs to
the kitchen, Aaron was conscious of the silence that echoed
throughout the house. After the hustle and bustle of the past week
the silence suddenly seemed eerie and unsettling, yet he wondered
hopefully whether he might be alone. At the foot of the stairs he
turned the corner towards the large open kitchen and much to his
dismay found his father seated at the heavy oak dining table with
the daily newspaper spread before him. Arthur Rutherford was a
simple and pragmatic man, who liked the status quo and didn’t
believe in unnecessary fuss. An antique dealer by trade, he
preferred to work with things rather than people, and had shied
away from most displays of human emotion until a chance meeting
with Catherine, Aaron’s adoptive mother, had turned his world
upside down.

Catherine had got under his skin, the way that she
did with nearly everyone she encountered, and even stern and
serious Arthur had been powerless to resist her charms. On the
surface they had seemed an unlikely match, but as a young doctor
Catherine’s obvious passion and drive to help others had touched
something within him, and he had opened up to her, sharing a softer
side that few others ever saw. His life had been devoted to making
her happy and though the casual observer might have thought him
bland and uninspiring compared to his outspoken and charismatic
other half, she had always made sure that he knew just how
important his love and support were to her successes.

Aaron paused uncertainly on the threshold of the
kitchen, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot until at last
Arthur glanced up and acknowledged his presence. It was the first
time that they had been completely alone together since his return
and now the awful truth of their loss seemed to stretch between
them like some unfillable chasm. They stared at each other for what
felt like an eternity to Aaron, Arthur’s steely grey eyes like
bottomless pits of sorrow steadily pouring their sadness into his
soul. They may not have been close, but they shared a mutual
respect for one another and the places that they had each held in
Catherine’s heart, and there in the silence of the kitchen no words
were necessary for each to know and empathise with the other’s
pain.

Unable to stand the tension any longer, Aaron was
first to break the silence.

‘Good morning, Arthur.’

‘Good morning, Aaron. Are you hungry?’

‘Not really, no.’

‘You must eat; you need to keep your strength up. I
think Aunt Ruby has left you a plate in the fridge. Take a seat and
I’ll warm it up for you.’

Aaron did as instructed and slipped into Arthur’s
vacant seat while the old man stood to rummage around the fridge.
He flicked lazily through the pages of the open newspaper until a
closer inspection of one article caused him to flip quickly back to
the front page in confusion. The newspaper was dated 8th April
2012; the day of his mother’s death.

‘Arthur, you do realise that newspaper is over two
weeks old?’

Arthur sighed.

‘I know. I just thought that I would catch up on
what’s happened since … since …’

His voice trailed off, leaving the unfinished
sentence hanging in mid-air. Aaron didn’t know what to say, but a
few moments later Arthur regained his composure.

‘We need to make a start on sorting through your
mother’s things. Most of it can go to charity; it’s what she would
have wanted. Are you able to help me out today?’

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