A short story Only a day [Archives:2003/09/Culture]

February 3 2003


The sun rises everyday,
Smiling and living say,
Get a hope from my ray,
And throw you sorrows away,
These optimistic songs came out desperately and bitterly from John Smith, thirty-four years old, followed with a long time of silence and thinking.
He remembers that he used to sing it happily and cheerfully with his size-year friends. But he now wants a day to sing it again with them.
He realizes now that childhood is a period when all we know is innocence and truthfulness. He wants only a day to rebuild what he had destroyed previously. Inside himself is a strong feeling of getting this sole day and his desire for it is stronger than his desire for a glass of water if he was in a deadly desert for a week.
Whereupon, if he were allowed to have this day, he would, first of all, go to his poor mother and tell her that the song was for her. For hurting her a lot, he would listen to her and go immediately to work in the little store which his father has left after he died, and he would express his regard and say that he would never let her down again.
He remembers precisely how much she used to suffer from him running away from school at the age of ten, discovering her all along. He went further into his disobedience, he left he struggling alone.
He can’t believe how cruel he was, for he never though of visiting her again. Ah! How could he have thought of this and he was lazy with stealing, bribing, and cheering?
That was his job, actually, that was the only thing he was good at. He remembers also that he happened to know from a friend of his that she spent a day and a night searching for him, but unfortunately the first moment he knew, it was the very second he forgot.
He doesn’t know now whether she’s still alive or if loneliness and strife have killed her. All he knows now that regrets is a very painful feeling.
Only 24 hours and if the hour were longer than 60 minutes, he would ask only for 3 hours because he would run as rapidly as possible to achieve all these things after realizing that he was running over nothing.
Only 1,440 minutes to prevent and stop that damn accident which made him kill a 10-year-old beautiful girl. All she did was cross the road. He did not see the traffic light or the girl, for he was very happy with the money he has just received after robbing the center bank.
He couldn’t run away as usually because all people in the street saw the accident and then he knew that was the end.
He kept thinking and dreaming until the jailer opened the door of his prison, and he heard him saying “John Smith it’s the time for your execution.”
He felt as if the jailer pushed him to fall down from a building of 20 floors. But he went with him silently, hopelessly and anxiously. None knew that he was already suffocating before the jailer put the rope around his neck. None also knew that all he felt was pain, regret and suffering.
But it no use declaring his feelings. He was watching fearfully and with wide open eyes the jailer approaching the chair that he was standing on, in order to kick it.
The jailer did kick the chair. And that buried the unimaginable truth of John’s, and his only day.