Dawn : A Short Story

He stood there staring into the oblivion. The heat was intolerable. The road below was chaotic. The man in a red car kept honking incessantly. It was some thirty minutes past six, and it was beginning to get dark. With both hands gripped firmly onto the railing, he took notice of none. His eyes flickered to a crowd silently walking with droopy shoulders and tired faces. Their lost hopes and miserable fate mirrored his state of mind. The void inside him had grown bigger with each passing day. He had failed. What could have possibly gone wrong? His mind was flooded with thoughts that all screamed at him at once. The void was growing bigger and bigger; beginning to swallow him.

He could never forget the day he came to this city. He came as a stranger, but it offered him the life of his dreams. His life used to have a purpose: He wanted to make it big. He landed a great job in an IT firm. He worked as hard as he could. His dreams were beginning to come true. He had a house, a car and a wedding ring. He married the prettiest girl. He fathered the most beautiful daughter. He had everything life could possibly offer. Nothing ever satisfied him. He worked harder. His work was his opium. He never realized when it distanced him from his family. He had become a stranger to himself. On one hand, he was acquiring everything he ever wished for. On the other hand, a void had taken birth in him. Fifteen years later, he still hadn’t found what he was looking for. And then it happened. His wife met with an accident. She was fatally wounded.

The door was flung open. The doctor came out to talk to him. There was nothing to worry about. His seven-year-old would not stop looking at him. Was it the first time in years, he was noticing her beautiful brown eyes? He noticed the tears in her eyes. Even the tears couldn’t hide a thousand questions those eyes darted. He had never been the best father to her. For seven years, he could only provide her with toys and not the love she longed for. Was he a stranger in her eyes too? His heart ached at that thought. He walked towards his daughter and took her in his arms. Her head was on his shoulder and her arms cradled around his neck. Her tear drops had moistened his shirt. She fell asleep after just a few minutes.

It was already dark outside. He gazed at the moon for a couple of hours. It was time to fill the void he had ignored for years. It was time to add meaning to his futile life governed by materialistic possessions. With all these thoughts, he fell asleep.  A slight, warm breeze caressed his face. He opened his eyes to bright sunshine. His daughter awakened when he stirred. She put her tiny hand on his cheek and whispered in his ear, “I love you, daddy.” It was a new dawn, a new day. And he had to make it count.

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MANJARI SINGH