It was hopeless. Luka threw back the worn quilt before sitting up and dropping his feet to the wood floor. The house was dark, but far from silent, and for several minutes he simply sat, listening to the sounds of his father's house. He hadn't wanted to leave the hospital, but, it hadn't made sense for both he and Niko to be there all night, and he knew that despite their personal differences, if anything happened his brother would call.
So, why couldn't he sleep?
The springs of the bed squeaked as he stood and when he wandered into the kitchen he found his ears picking out a familiar sound from his youth. As it's chime announced the quarter hour, he spotted the mantle clock that his mother had been so proud of, a wedding gift that she had received from her parents on the day she had left their home. The memory was another of the bittersweet ones that seemed to haunt him since his return, and as successful as he had been with keeping them at bay during the daylight hours, by night they besieged him.
He hadn't told Niko about his insomnia, there really wasn't a reason to, with all the differences between them it wasn't as if he could confide in him about anything like this. He ran his hand over the clock's smooth finish before walking away from it, the image of his mother sitting at the table polishing it easily coming into his thoughts. If only all of the memories that came were ones that brought a smile with them.
After grabbing a beer from the refrigerator Luka spent the next hour walking the rooms of the small house, picking up and putting down the small trinkets that sat on the shelves and tabletops. So many reminders of his mother even after all the years she'd been gone, a luxury he'd never had when it came to remembering his own family. Without even realizing he had done it until it was out and in his hand he fingered the small black and white picture of his wife and daughter.
So many of the memories stirred by this place were of things long gone, the thought lingered as he found himself in front of a picture of he and Niko as boys. Even something as simple as the friendship between two brothers had been battered and crumpled by war, then further left to fester as both of them had said things they neither could take back. Now, almost fifteen years later they had to decide if they were strong enough to salvage what they once had, or would that relationship or at least what remained of it, die with the death of their father.
Tipping his beer back, Luka found a bitterness in his mouth that he knew shouldn't exist. He didn't want to admit that his father was dying but experience told him it wouldn't be long. When had the man who had once seemed so robust become so frail? His shoulders sagged and he felt the tears he'd been fighting to hold back beginning to gain strength, soon it would only be he and Niko, the choice was his, did he really want to lose him too?