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The Dawn Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Awais Aftab, Pakistan Aug 28, 2005
Human Rights , Sports   Short Stories
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Life is one horrible nightmare, someone had once told him; now, he believed it. It would be surprising to others that such a multi-millionaire and a business tycoon would think that way, but others couldn’t see what was going beneath the surface; they could see his fat bank accounts but not his parched heart. All he had valued in his life was work and money, and they had engulfed his life like a hideous leviathan. He had never experienced love. No, he had, but he had strangled it with his own hands and married the daughter of another filthy-rich autocrat. Strange how life takes revenge from you, strange how you willfully sink more and more in the quick-sand of wealth, strange how you consider marital relations to be ‘love’, and strange how you realize in the end that life is not worth living; a horrible nightmare from which you are desperate to wake up…

He had reached the same conclusion; he had so much money, money that his generations would find it enough for luxury, but he didn’t have an iota of peace of mind. He had reached his goals, what he wished to achieve: a grand industrial estate but he felt that he had wasted his whole life. In his lunacy for wealth and work he had neglected his home and health. He had a wife, but no friend and no lover. He had progeny but no ‘children’. He had money but was still a destitute. He had doctors but no health, coworkers but none to trust in. He was breathing, that was true, but was he living? In his foolish pursuit, he had lost himself, his name and his identity.

When life becomes a dungeon, death loses its fear and transforms into the key to freedom. When life loses its charms, a man is lured by the seductive beauty of death. When life becomes a simoom, death offers the fresh breeze of Elysium, and a man decides to switch off the boring channel of life.

That night he decided to end it, to discontinue this pathetic tragedy of life. He chose his own office building as the rendezvous with Death, a huge skyscraper, a symbol of power, money and death. He chose midnight as the roof was supposed to be vacant then.

He sat in his office drinking coffee, and for the first time in his life he actually felt as if he could taste it. Before that he had been too busy to notice such a ‘small and unimportant’ thing. Slowly, he sipped his coffee and contemplated on his suicide: how would his wife react? By indifference, perhaps, he had never spent enough time at home to develop any relationship with her. His children would probably not even notice his absence. The oppressive weight of his loneliness made him miserable. He finished his coffee, grabbed his coat and looked around at his office where had spent all his precious moments of life. No one can conceive of the misery of a man who exhausted his life after a dream and then realized that he had been wrong all along. He closed door to his office and walked up the stairs to the roof. It was dark; he had taken only a few steps when he heard sobs coming from the corner. Curious, he moved towards the sound. He saw someone bent on the edge in a position to jump. The person was sobbing continuously. The silhouette was of a woman. Suddenly, she lifted her head, ready to jump.
“Wait!” he called involuntarily, surprised at himself.

The lady looked back at him and he was able to see face more clearly; she was his secretary. Her eyes were moist, red and tears continuously flowed.

“Please, don’t stop me. I want to end my life. I want to end this horrible nightmare. I don’t want to live,” she was hysterical.

To his own surprise, he felt an acute desire to save this woman, to save her from death and bring her back to life, to save this flower from withering. “But why?” he asked.

“This life is not worth living. There is no happiness left, nothing but grief and misery. I am tired of fighting. My husband has cancer and we have no money for his treatment, no donations, no nothing. In the start I decided to fight, but for how long? It has been years now, and I am exhausted. I want to end this right now!”

The pain was apparent in her voice and on her face. It pained him too. For the first time in his life he saw his secretary as a “human”. It was ironic, a woman about to commit suicide for lack of money, a man about to commit suicide for its excess. Life was nothing but a joke.

Suddenly he experienced an uncanny inspiration, every nook and cranny of his mind was filled with life. He felt like the Angel of Life, its distributor, and its preserver.

“But there is hope. As long as you live there is a ray of light. Life is a river teeming with fishes of love, beauty and joy. You just have to open your eyes and look.” He had no idea he could ever speak words like these.

It was all impulsive. He pointed to the sky, “look at all these shinning stars. We never notice them now, but they still twinkle, spreading happiness to those who wish to take it. In this swarthy sky they never lose their hope, their determination and will. They continue to send flickers of light even though they know they can’t fight off the darkness of the night, but they try, and they live.”

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Awais Aftab

Writing has been a passion, a love ever since I learned to write. For me, writing is a means of expression of 'secret tears and secret pleasures'. True writing comes from the heart and often it is the one to find you, not you the one to find it. Writing gives me power, the strength to carry on, the will to live and to live in a better way. It helps me find deeper meaning in the world around me and to understand myself much better. I can't survive without writing. For me, my writings are the whispers of life, in which the glory and sorrow of life echoes. For me, these are the glittering tears, whose every flash encompasses a thousand aspects of life. I believe that, 'I write; therefore I am.' However, true ease in writing comes from art, and I still have to learn a lot about that.
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