A dying old man is waiting for images of his life to flash by before he dies
|THE OLD MAN
An old man was lying in his bed. He was dying and he knew it. What he didn't know was when he was going to die.
Many years previously, he heard or read somewhere that just before dying a man's entire life flashes past his eyes and he was lying in his bed and waiting for his past life to flash through.
His earliest memory was of himself when a toddler bouncing a red ball with white spots on it in front of his grandmother and saying, "Look grandma, my new ball." But that was a very long time ago and it was a very minor aspect of his long life and he was wondering if the flash-by would start with that episode and if he will have a final chance to see his grandmother whose face he couldn't recall.
Then his thoughts turned to women he loved and slept with and more than any woman he thought of his high-school sweetheart Lorna and of how he let her down when she invited him to stay the night with her and how he ejaculated too early even before entering her and leaving her frustrated and unsatisfied. The old man was thinking of Lorna and wondering what became of her, what sort of a life she had, and if she was still alive.
Then his thoughts turned to the other women in his life and he put them in two groups, the ones he had slept with and the ones he had not. And as he was doing so he mentally counted the number of women he had slept with and was wondering if the number was high or low compared to the human average.
After that his thoughts turned to his father and to his father's father and the thought that their past existence will be forgotten as if they had never existed and how his own existence will be forgotten in due course of time but he accepted this and it didn't bother him but he was getting impatient by the non-appearance of the flash's fly-past
- - -
It fas past four o'clock in the afternoon when the district nurse knocked on the old man's door. She had a busy day having visited more than a dozen local patients and the old man was the last on her list for the day. Her mind was already busy with cooking dinner for her husband and her son when she eventually gets home. But her knocks on the old man's door went unanswered and she was getting frustrated and wondered if she should knock on the door of one of the adjoining apartments and ask if the old man had left any messages for her. The apartment block had forty-eight self-contained apartments, sixteen on each floor and she was concerned she won't be able to make it home in time to cook for her family. In the end she decided to check with the caretaker if the old man had been seen that day.
The caretaker had not seen the old man that day nor on the previous day and together they went back to the old man's apartment and the caretaker used his master key to open the door and they both entered the apartment to have a look inside. They found the old man lying in his bed, with eyes shut and his body lifeless. The district nurse put two of her fingers on the old man's neck to check if blood was flowing in the arteries but she couldn't detect any sign of life.
"He is dead," she said and the caretaker who was a religious man made the sign of the cross across his own body and said, "May his soul rest in peace".
The district nurse covered the old man's face with the blanket and said, "He died happy. Look at the smile on his face. I wonder what he was thinking about."