Darkness

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas

It was late at night when the old man woke up. Slowly but surely, a terrible fear came over him. The treacherous tremor of his old, useless body irritated him so much that he pinched himself.

Why was it so dark? Was it time already?

He felt the cold sweat running down his wrinkled forehead. With a weak trembling hand he rubbed his sallow face dry. Then, licking his lips, he groped for the remainders of a candle left somewhere on the night table near the head of the bed.

All of a sudden, the dark universe he was living in exploded! His favourite clay vase with artificial white chrysanthemums fell and broke to pieces producing an unbearable noise. The old man wondered if he could stick the vase together again. Every time the fall of this old, useless object drove him mad, as if his existence were not miserable enough! It was like an ill omen which ruined all his wrinkled hopes. He felt as if he had no more spare time to waste in vain. Every moment acquired a new meaning, a more threatening one. He could hardly breathe. Even his loose pyjamas became too tight. At that moment he thought of people’s shallow interests, of their artificial free will, and of the vacant place next to him. In fact, it was her who gave him the damned vase!

Darkness, absolute darkness in his life!

He was alone. He curled up in his bed and tried to sleep. He dozed for a while and then he woke up again. All of a sudden he shook his head. Who did God think He was?! He wouldn’t accept to be treated that way! He would stick that damned vase together! But first he needed light. Yet, it turned out to be a whole odyssey to light the vital candle. He felt as if he were swimming in a river with dangerous currents and he couldn’t get to the shore. Diving desperately into the deadly air of the night, he felt how he was drowning slowly.

He was lucky that time! He did it! He kindled the candle and all his life became brighter in a way.

The old man was shocked to see his wife’s face. She was smiling softly to him and there was so much warmth in her eyes! Those comforting eyes of hers! Why had she committed suicide?! Was it because he had brought everything to ruin?! House, home, health, hope, all of them annihilated by his stupidity, had vanished together with her death! She had left him nothing but the clay vase and her picture swaying on the wall on windy days.

The old man shrugged his shoulders. It was cold. The candle went out and its flickering light vanished into the darkness of the night. Was it time already?

A sudden red spot appeared on the horizon bringing a bitter sweet mixture of hope and despair in the old man’s life.

“Not this time…” he thought and burst out laughing. Then he curled up and fell asleep.

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