Student or Learner
I left the room without further ado. I knew that they wanted to talk to each other more then ever before. It could well be the last time they saw their father alive. Tomorrow was the day of the final stage from which there was only two exits; one through the hospitals doors into the exciting world and the other into the cold and grey mortuary. I went into the lounge and sat with a book in the sofa, but could not concentrate my mind on the text in front of me. My room- mate was in my thoughts all the time. I sincerely hoped that his children had come because they loved him and not because they wanted to clear up their dispute about the inheritance or other material things. I had already heard many tragic stories in which children visits their dying parents and force them to sign the paper with the last atoms of energy their body still have.
This was probably the first time during his stay at the hospital that he could get words of consolation which he so much needed. True, he spoke with me, with the nurses and other patients, but we were strangers who would disappear from his life already next week while his children were not only part of his past, but also his future. If he could successfully keep his mask in front of us, that mask would surely drop down now in the company of his children.
About ten minutes later he turned up at the door, tears tricking down his cheeks. He sobbed like a child. "They have no time for me!" His voice was trembling. "Tomorrow can be my last day and they have no time! My children... I have no children any longer."
A middle aged nurse came up and hugged him telling him that everything would be all right. The most important thing was for him to stay calm and prepare himself for the operation. But the old man was not present. His sad eyes was watching somewhere in the distance, beyond the bright hospital walls, even beyond life.
Next morning before the breakfast two nurses came into our room and asked him to follow them to the operation theatre. His face had the same painful grimace from yesterday and that strange look in his eyes. They smiled encouragingly and told him some friendly words but he had not shown any sign of hearing them. Instead, he mumbled something and shuffled down the corridor.
A few minutes later, I went the same way. While lying on the operation table and waiting for the anaesthetist to inject in my vein the magical liquid which would help me to forget the reality for at least some minutes, I was thinking of my room- mate again. Yesterday, it was the first time in my life that I saw an old man cry. Apparently, there was something wrong with the welfare state. An invisible war had been going on also in this country, behind the veneer of perfection.
In the afternoon I walked back to my home, sweating more than ever before. My body was boiling and drops of sweat appeared on my skin like fine rain. Above me the sun was merciless, blazing down from the deep blue sky. I met again groups of half naked men and women on their way to the beach. I never understood how could they sit for hours under the scorching sun and risk skin cancer. At the same moment I thought of him again, my room- mate. I hoped that at least he had better luck.
I saw myself jumping into a river for the last time and letting her waves carrying me far off to the South; away from this soulless land and its cold-hearted people.
Last edited by Bassim; 03-Jun-2008 at 15:36.