Bhraf And The Four Heavenly Kings


W • E


If once was not enough,


Ron could not recall where the anger was coming from except that it was the last word spoken to Bhraf. Yelled at, as a matter of fact; —an involuntary enrage. That was likely the second monologue after the only Hello all summer, that she had said, of a single word to him.

Ron spoke to Mahtr on an almost twice-a-week basis. Conversations over the horn lasted from approximately 4 minutes to rare occasions of 15 minutes—tops. Skype calls happened on unusual days; the last being 2 weeks back, dialed from Nana's. Over the horn, conversations were not exactly the type you thought so. Frequently-asked-questions with given answers of yes and no included:

"Did you eat?" / "Did you work?" / "Did you go out?"


She ate, drank and smoked. So did I. Ron had not found any ways to entice Mahtr into an interesting conversation; only always being drifted back to square one, led by an overly concerned mother worried only of Ron's physical, and not mental, health. Never treated like a friend but as an overly protected well over-grown child. Her mother's love and care was limitless, yet carelessly limited. Darhd was worse, over the line or in person. It was a family of a few words when it came to the four of them. They could have been the Four Heavenly Kings* watching over the cardinal directions of the world, back turned and too far away from each other.

Ron and Bhraf had a strangers' relationship. At times, so near yet so far, he was the brother she never quite had. Never quite there, when the walls came rumbling down and things being thrown around. As a child, Ron took cover from the regular verbal wrestles between Darhd and Mahtr not from the protection of a brother but the corners of rough plastered walls.

He always gets away from all these unpleasant moments.

They all have their big brother; mine? A very wrong word, then again: non-existent.

"Don't you worry. It gets better when y'all get older."

Shane'd assured her, by pure experience apparently and time was supposed to make everything alright anyway.

Well, rather unlikely? It hadn't been any good, over the last decade.

Having said that, how could Ron have found a solution when she did not have a clue what was the cause of the problem.

Ron was 5:

There was once and the only time, back on Coco Hill, Ron had a brother.

"But I am here,"

He vowed, to be the guardian angel of her night, to make sure Freddy did not leave Elm Street.

Ron was 8:

One other time,

"Teach me,"

And that was nice, as Ron felt important. Like a ringmaster training a bear on an unicycle, Ron passed on her whistling techniques to her big brother.

Sure felt good to know something he didn't.

Ron was 9:

Mostly, as a child, both of them had nothing good to say to each other.

"You're stupid!"

Nana overheard Ron insulting Bhraf in her sleep.

Ron was 11, maybe 7:

"Stop singing,"

Ron sulked as Bhraf had all the attention on the road trip.

Ron was 13:

"Quit following me,"

Bhraf commanded and turned his back as they got out of the truck on Ron's first day at school.

Ron was 27:

"So long, you do not become her,"

Bhraf reminded his little one as Ron played clown and amused her with a wind-up toy.

It was that watch, wasn't it? It was a curse.

I should not have opened his birthday gift. It did not belong to me.

I should have listened.

They warned her. Ron did not bother. She could have and she should have.

I should have done many things.

I should have not been here.

I should, this. I should, that.

Stop telling me what I should do.


s, h, o, u, l and d kind of looked weird

when placed next to the other.

"My brother…"


"My brother…"


"My brother…"

Blah, blah, blah.

"My brother…"

It goes on.

Ron listened in awe to all these stories of "my brother…" from people around her over too long a period of time. Ron would imagine being the author and lead character of these stories: of the adventures, incidents and conversations with a—brother. Nonetheless never felt quite right about an imaginary brother since that would not have nominated her onto Bhraf's Love-My-Little-Sister list. Only misunderstandings, more than mishaps. Whereas, these guys, they had something.

Le Brothers

Gwndlr had decided to get away from Paris. He had a broken heart. Ian was in London, he came by. They sat on the desk next to each other; an elbow away, on wooden chairs, they were two disciplined juniors in a classroom. They sat the same way down, different hair, different drawings, similar body language and brothers with mint-colored eyes. Ian could not mend Gwndlr's broken heart, but he was there to share a lunchbox and a bed. They baked a King's pie, they had each other.

That could have been us.

Big Leo, Little Leo

They almost had the same nose and cheek bones. It must be the hair, too. On a rented racer and a squeaky Triumph, they went on a Deptford hunt. Laughters over a shared cigarette; a cider and a lager, they danced within the red velvet curtains through the chilly winter night.

That could have been us.

The Hickey Boys

Partners-in-crime; they shoplifted and they pranked. To protect and be protected, made-up jokes and made-up laughters, that's alright. Questions answers and stories exchanged in a one-bed motel down town, they supported each other despite constant dissimilarities. They overcame their ego and said I love you after three decades. It was funny, they managed.

That could have been us.

Alvin and an undead—Mark

Don't wake the dead. At least, they spoke.

That could have been us.

Yet, they weren't them.

Ron and Bhraf

They were barely three years apart by age and only ten thousand eight hundred forty-sevenish kilometers away from each other. They were magnets of the same pole. Shared Darhd's eyes and lived very different lives. Bhraf, an aerospace engineer and a family guy. Ron, a self-proclaimed artist and not a homey sort of person. Bhraf seemed to know what he wanted, what he liked and what to do. Ron, on the contrary—not. His sticker collection, ended up her possession. His postal stamps obsession, were missing Ron's favorite design. His fondness for Lego bricks passed on to Ron's Pink Legoland. Whatever he had, she had to have them. The Four Heavenly Kings, if not the four guardian angels of the Buddhist faith, were the four Canto pop artistes of the early nineties. Bhraf had taken a pick of one from the four; Ron then, had too, idolize the other as to oppose his preferences yet at the same time be lured into all of Bhraf's hobbies and interests.

How else could we have been closer?

Ahndy was definitely more talented than Ehronn, by vocals and by looks.

I have better taste in music and films.

Ron assumed. Till recent years did she realize she had lost her confidence over the years. Had the Fairy Blackstick too taken it away. Bhraf, unlike either of The Four Heavenly Kings, had yet been crowned prince. Neither a pop star, neither a guardian angel. Bhraf and Bhrafer knew not Ron nor vice verse.

Ron took the road, in her own directions.