There was a man once, who lived in a small home. He was an ordinary man, not unlike the type you see walking down the street to the store on the corner. He never really did anything spectacular, nor did he do anything that was hateful. He lived a very correct life, with correct children, and a wife who was also very correct.
Day in and day out, he would set off to work at the local courthouse. He earned his pay as a judge. He lived his life as any man would. But he was ordinary. Just ordinary. He decorated his house with many fine things. Tapestries, flowery wallpaper, oaken tables and matching chairs. The sitting room was finely lit with candles and comfortable sofas. Everything seemed to be... perfect.
He never took risks, for risks were too risky. Risks had a chance to make or break him and his career, so he always veered around and took the safe road. Which is ordinary of course. Just day in, day out. Courthouse...judge.
The years passed. Wars in far-off lands were fought and won, lost, came to a draw. People were born, and people died. And the man was very content. Or so he thought. He was putting up a lamp one morning during the winter when he fell off the ladder. The lamp fell with him, shattering. He seemed to be alright, until he tried to move. Pain flowed through him, focusing on his abdomen. Looking down, he noticed a shard of glass, lodged in him.
Fortunately, his wife was there, and immediately called a doctor. The doctor came, sacrificing his afternoon nap, and took a look at the man.
"Tsk tsk," is all the doctor would say. "Tsk tsk."
"Something doesn't seem right," the man thought. "I feel... like I'm out of time," he thought. "But no! I can't die now... I'm... not ready to die. I'm still young! Only... 53...."
Doctor told wife that the man would die. It simply was not possible to... replace... the organ that was damaged. Not that the man knew it, for his wife kept it from him, thinking it would help... but he could feel it inside. That gnawing, growing anxiety of what lie on the other side.Only his servant knew the man's plight. "I can feel him, Ivan," he often said.
"Feel who, sir?" often responded Ivan, cleaning the room where the man lay."Him. He's always watching me. Yes... he's coming. Soon," the man said wearily.The man knew not really who it was that waited but as the weeks passed by, and the man was slowly dying, it started to dawn on him. It was... death. But had death a presence? One would certainly think not! Of course... the man had never really thought of his death. Never once in his own life. All the funerals he went to for the elders of his family... the thought was always the same, even if he did not realize it."At least it wasn't me, lying there in that casket."But now... now... why now? Why? What had he done to deserve this? He had lived life the way that people thought it should be lived! He had a successful career! Why... why was death taunting him now? He did all the things that ordinary people would have... done.
With that thought, he realized it. Ordinary. False. He... he had lived a... false life? A false life! It was a fake, the whole thing! A waste! A false, wasted life! What had he accomplished? What had he done to leave legacy for the future? Nothing!That was it. That was why death tormented him now. But no... he needed more time!"I'll do it right! Just give me more time! More...time."
Weeks passed... months. All the while regretting. Regretting his false life. Regret. And that was the last thought that went across his mind as he drew his last breath. Not the thought of his wife and children. Not the thought of his career. But simply the thought of regret at his life. His ordinary life.