"...WHY ARE THE GREATEST MISERIES OF LIFE THE CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVEN’T HAD?
Story Art - The story of Kevin and his last few seconds on Earth.
It sounded like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star playing in his head. But it was playing really slow. Unnervingly slow.
His heart beat, however, was going the opposite way — it thumped faster and faster. So much so his chest started to hurt at each beat. A trembling hand barely held onto the steering wheel.
The world paused for that moment. A silence deeper than ever could be heard. Can you hear silence? Well right now, Kevin could.
It was too late.
His car had already crossed the line at the round-about. He should have looked. He didn’t, and just kept accelerating. He made a mistake.
Frozen in time and space now. He saw to his right, a car, heading directly towards him. Moments away from colliding head first into him.
It was travelling at such a speed, and was of such an enormous size, that even if the driver were to slam his brakes, it would make little difference. Within moments his body would be crushed.
He could already sense the pain. His throat clenched up, he struggled to breathe. The world around him was getting brighter, it hurt his eyes. So he closed them.
“Kevin, you just keep trying son. I don’t want you to give up. This is what you’ve always had your heart set on, so this is what you’re going to do. It’s that simple. It may seem like you’re hitting dead ends. But have faith, it takes time.”
He could hear his dad’s voice.
His father was the reason he achieved anything in life. He thought about how he had never told him how much he cared about him. How much he loved him. What his support, over all those years, had meant to him — financially, sacrificing his own happiness to give Kevin a privileged life, having his back in every situation, and lifting him up when he broke down.
It was all too awkward a conversation for him to tell his dad how he really felt. Or to run up to him and give him a hug. Now he will never know how deeply he wanted to cry into his arms and tell him that he was the one person he always looked up to. How his dad was his role model. Telling him would have made him so proud.
He wanted nothing more than his dad’s arms around him to protect him right now, like he did when he was a little child.
He hoped his dad wouldn’t feel too alone without him around anymore.
And what about Ally? His beautiful wife. How would she raise the child they were expecting? In a few months, their daughter would enter this world. And she will be without a father.
He wished he could just reach out to Ally and hold her one more time. Give her one last kiss and tell her she would be okay. Tell her that she will be a great mother. Tell her that she is strong. He knew she was.
He had never told Ally how much he respected her and how lucky he was to spend the years he did with someone so caring. She shouldered so much responsibility, made it look effortless, and made him such a better person.
He wanted to yell out and tell her all these things. But he knew she couldn’t hear him. All she would hear would be the news that this trip down to the grocery store meant her husband was never coming back. He had left her forever.
He didn’t have much time.
A tear broke from his eye.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star played even slower now. Its pitch was so deep, he could barely recognise the words.
Why did he spend the last few years miserable at work? Living just for the weekend, and hoping there was a bright future at some undisclosed time? Dreaming about the day he would retire, where he would have all the freedom, to do what he loved.
If he knew his life was going to end like this. He would have given it all up to write. That’s what he wanted to do since he was a kid. His journal was proof. He had 100s of pages full of notes on this one story he was eventually going to write. Kevin wondered if someone will find it. And maybe someone someday will write that book for him.
Ally didn’t know about this desire. He feared he would let her down by jumping ship from being a well-paid lawyer to a struggling writer. So, he kept it to himself.
Maybe he should have just talked to her about it. He would have been much happier, they had enough money and she would have definitely supported him. She always has.
It was all in his head.
He let go of the steering wheel now, there was no point holding on. He surrendered to what was to come.
The whispering of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, the murmurs of the people walking the streets, the hum of the universe, and above it all, the screeching of the brakes of this oncoming car. He could hear it all.
This moment felt like forever. His world was in slow motion, as if life was giving him this final chance to figure it all out. Twinkle Twinkle now sounded like a flatline buzz, the noise you hear when you get a hard knock to the skull. The sound was painful.
And there appeared his brother. Images of them as children. The days where they used to run around the lawn, engraving their names on the big palm trees that grew outside their house, and playing sports from morning to night.
They didn’t have a worry in the world.
Kevin and his brother were best friends. They did everything together. Until work and being an adult got in their way. His brother got a highflying corporate role, and it pulled him away.
For many years Kevin felt that hole in his chest. His best friend was now a distant stranger he’d see once in a while, which felt like a formal catch-up — like being introduced to someone for the first time.
He still remembered the time that the neighbour’s kid had pushed him and he hurt himself as he fell. His brother beat the neighbour’s kid so hard, Kevin had to stop him before he did something he’d regret.
Kevin wished he could call him now and tell him how much he missed those days. The promotions, the moving up the ladder, the hours slaving away towards some materialistic goal. What they both spent the entirety of their life doing, he was taking none of it with him. And what he would take away with him, was regrets.
At the core of it, all anyone wants is to still be that kid running around in the lawn. He was still that kid and all he wanted was to be loved. And love those back that mattered to him.
Why did it take till today for him to realise this?
Why do you only understand the meaning of the game once it is about to come to an end?
Why are the greatest miseries of life the conversations you haven’t had?
Maybe the world will miss him. Had he left the world a better place than which he came? What would Ally, his dad, and his brother, say at his funeral? Who would care enough to attend?
He wasn’t ready to go. He wished, he prayed, for some kind of miracle. Even a few extra hours. But he saw a bunch of colourful balloons above him pulling him away. High into the sky.
The buzzing was too loud. He couldn’t hear anything else. His thoughts were a distant whisper. And suddenly, he could hear them no more.
It all went dark.
Kevin didn’t know how long he had slept. But he woke to the warm touch of a hand rubbing his forehead. It felt so familiar. It was the most comforting feeling. It made all his worries pass away, and for the first time in many years, he felt blissful joy.
He opened his eyes and saw it was his mom sitting by his side. Her hand on his forehead, with a smile looking down at him.
He immediately felt weak. His body trembled. He couldn’t control his emotions and broke out into tears. Happiness poured out from every inch of his body.
He hadn’t see his mom since she passed away, and here he was with her today. He couldn’t believe it.
He jumped up and threw himself into her arms.
He knew at that moment he had died.