His two sons placed him safely in the hospital wheel chair and wheeled him around so he could have a look at the outside world within the hospital environ, and breathe the fresh air therein, probably for the last time; the request of a dying man.
Once at a corner, he bent his head to weep. The pearly tears droppped on his garment and soaked in. He had less than a week to live. He knew it would soon happen; the long awaited day would soon sneak in to bring his existence to an end.
The cancerous tumours had stretched their deadly tentacles in his pelvic region and had incapacitated him for years, defying best treatments – just like the partial stroke, diabetes and hypertension; the bunch of inmates at ease within him, which had heartlessly pulled up the roots holding his life, one by one. Soon, the tap-root would also give in, as they mercilessly pulled at it every passing day, slowly killing him.
He felt like a pulp, a rotting vegetable; beaten and weakened.
His wife approached him, held him firmly on both shoulders, jerked him as if it would give him tons of strength to go on, raised his face and his eyes to hers, and shunned him not to be such an weakling.
“Be strong! Do you hear me? Be strong! You’ll survive this,” she said to him.
If only she knew how far his spirit had gone.
He studied her briefly, she looked strong outwardly but deeply chartered within. He sighed and looked away much more worried to look at his sons, who hid their sorrow behind massive veils of pseudo-bravery, and like drowning men catching at the straw, they chested out to prove that it’s not the end yet, but he was not deceived, he knew they knew and were sure it won’t be long before the end.
“Dad stop!” Reacted his younger son. “You’re going to survive this. Don’t you trust God can turn things around and make you healthy again? Just as you used to?” But that was easier said because right after the admonitions, his son had hurried to the hospital recess to get emotional and later returned to him with bloodshot eyes hidden behind his sun glasses.
The sick man wiped his tears, swallowed hard. He raised his failing eyes to look at the other patients sitted around who gave him encouraging smiles, he smiled back but sadly. Each one of them had a terrible health journey. The stories they told had revealed worse cases than his. Yet, they looked stronger.
“Weakness of will power disables the physical strength. Strong will, keeps you going,” one of them had said to him on a day he felt too bad. “Be strong here,” he had said striking his chest weakly. “Look at me man, I’m a walking dead right? But I won’t waste my tears on something that’s not going to happen. I won’t.”
The sick man braced himself and toughed up; not to work on himself but on the contrary- to lament over his predicament.
“Take me home!” He sang sadly. “Take me home. The time had come to go home.
“What do you mean by that?” His wife asked.
“I’m hypertensive,” he went on, “I have partial stroke, I’m diabetic, anaemic, I have cancer! Shall I live, shall I die, only God knows. Do I desire to live on? Yes! But of what use is my desire when fate will eventually take it’s cause? If I…..”
“Dad stop, your BP will rise with that, please be calm. Calm down,” his older son almost shouted.
“Be strong honey! Be strong!” He heard his wife’s voice as he felt like fainting and saw his son’s tears as everything began to fade, he saw the emergency unit fading away just like the paramedics rolling his bed and the doctors and nurses calling his name.
The white light peered in and dazzled. Then nothing but absolute darkness.
He saw himself walking in the midst of muted thousands walking on a vast land with nothing in view just endless levelled land below a gloomy sky.
They all walked on.
He recalled nothing, and thought about nothing- just the present.
He felt he didn’t belong there with those weird beings but had no power to do anything contrary to what everyone else was doing.
Everyone of them reached a valley and crossed to the other side and continued the journey but he reached a valley – He raised his right foot to cross when he heard his name from behind.
He turned back but saw nothing but thick darkness. Then a dazzling white light, then voices.
“Where am I” he asked himself.
And when he saw their faces and realised he’s still alive, he wept again.