Dec 16, 2015

The Dying Man

There weren’t a lot of things left for a dying man to do. For while he was invariably found lying on what might as well be called his deathbed, his days also lacked a certain factor which could only be fulfilled with the simple pleasure of having some company. A situation he was in, that as difficult as it may be to believe, came to him as no surprise.

Oh yes, he was infamous for the few achievements he had accomplished in his past; the sleepless nights he had endured to meet the deadlines set upon him. And yes, he used to be the man that caught the attention of others, whether for good or bad reasons. The emptiness of his room in that hospital, however, still appealed more true to reality than a room full of flowers, greeting cards, and moreover, people, which he admittedly used to wish for at times before he wore himself out to sleep.

It was the second week. It was his ninth day being admitted in the hospital when he realized no one would leave their life behind to personally check on him. He wished it were easy to call those people who claimed to be his closest, dear friends and beloved ones. For not only will his initiative make him a show waiting to be pitied by its audience, but subject to a sea of rejections, refusals and rain checks as well. His heart, ironically the cause of his admittance in the hospital too, would not be able to take any more of that.

And yet today, after a month and a half of avoiding the call for pity party, the feelings he had striven to ward off still found a way to ache within his weakened, narcotized body. For almost two months, he had not made contact with anyone but his nurses and doctors. For almost two months, he had been out of people’s lives. For almost two months, he had not come to work, to party, or to any family affairs. And yet, the emptiness of his room still held true to reality. No one had noticed his absence.

He was a man of many capabilities, a man with many responsibilities; he was a good man. Yet the only messages his nurse had read out to him were threats of him losing his job if he did not show up soon. He had lost hope of ever being remembered, and he was ready to die and turn into ashes, desolated and forgotten. If only things had stayed that way.

For on the beat of his third month, when he opened his eyes, only to be greeted with the harsh sunlight invading his room through the narrow slit between the curtains covering the windows on his left, a man was found sitting on the couch that had not been sat on for a long time. It was he that changed this man’s tedious days, he that kept listening to the ramblings of a weak, dying man.
For days, he had come to lighten up in the presence of this stranger. All of the unsaid words began to spill out of him so easily as if he had known the man for a long time. But despite the discovery of a company in the form of this stranger, he had come to realize that he had yet to hear his voice. The stranger had never uttered a word from day one, and it was only on the fifth day of his visit that he finally had to ask him.

“Thank you for listening,” he began, and clearing his dry, scratchy throat, coughing with difficulty, “It is rather rude of me, however, that I have not asked you your name. Who are you, my friend?”

The stranger answered with a distant, wan smile and averted his eyes to the clock on the wall. The sick man checked the time, and nodded in understanding. It was time for him to get some rest. Every day for the past five days, the stranger would be there when he opened his eyes. And every day for the past five days, the stranger would remind him to get his sleep on time.

“But, w-what of your – your name?” he insisted, breathing heavily. The stranger got on his feet, and approached him, taking slow, leisured steps. The man of no voice, calm and sure of himself, raised his hand and rested it on the forehead of the pale, ghostly man. It was in that moment, when the man felt the warmth of his palm course through his cold skin that he slowly closed his eyes, falling into yet another dreamless slumber, unaware and clueless of the stranger’s name.

Assuming the stranger would be there to greet him as he always had, he found himself disappointed to open his eyes to a vacant seat the next day. At first, he didn’t seem to mind about it. He must be running late, he thought. And so he waited for the stranger’s arrival that day, staring into the clock as if any moment later, it would make the stranger appear before him.

He waited, hour after hour, hoping to see the man that had become his companion in hours like that instant. When time struck too far from the hour he woke up to the present, however, he began to wonder anxiously. Where could his friend be?

He almost jolted up in eagerness when the door clicked open, but the feeling did not last as soon as the nurse appeared with a tray of his lunch, replacing it with a feeling of dejection. When the nurse was bringing the movable counter over his body, and helping him sit up-straight, he could not help himself but be tempted to ask the nurse about his recently regular visitor.

The nurse threw him a long hard look, almost as if attempting to figure out a puzzle with several missing pieces. And in a couple of moments, he was going to find out that there were indeed pieces that the nurses could not seem to grasp. In a whirl of a few words, he sunk into a pit of confusion, drowning, suffocating… where the truth he held onto for a while, was crushed into pieces of lies.

“You haven’t had any visitors, Mr. Trent,”


My take on what it’s like to challenge isolation. Everyone needs someone to lend them a hand, don’t forget to be there for your loved ones. What are your thoughts about it? Leave a comment.

written by Emjay Fernandez

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