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The Life and Death of a Person

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.

Meet the "person". Exciting?

Meet the "person". Exciting?

Once, there was a person born at a local hospital. He grew up and went to school and did everything he was told to do. When he finally graduated from high school, he went to college like all good students who listen and do what they are told to do. His life was on a straight and narrow path, heading in a predictable direction.

He graduated from college, got a job and had a family with two children. His wife --a doting but shallow lady -- supported him all through his life, barely raising a word of hostility toward him. She said “yes” to everything he did and never said “no,” despite having inner conflicts with some or more of this decisions.

His children were the same. They never rebelled as teens. They always went to church, despite holding secret misgivings about the life they were leading. Nobody complained within the confines of his home. All was well, as far as the person was concerned.

After many years of service for his company, he finally retired. His colleagues at the company he worked with sent him into retirement with a small, polite party and a pat on the back. For the 40 years he gave them, he received a watch from them that counted the remaining days of his life.

"she looked in the mirror and realized that her life was just beginning."

"she looked in the mirror and realized that her life was just beginning."

His children -- college graduates themselves -- had moved out a long time ago to start their careers and families. But, his children didn’t follow the same line of work as he had done when he graduated from college. They went out into life and discovered their own less predictable paths. They struggled for a while, but eventually found success doing the things they always wanted to do.

His wife was still at his side, but she learned to nag at times. Each year she became less doting and more independent. Still, she was a long way from ever becoming a woman free to express her opinion.

Despite these little infractions, life for this man seemed smooth; there were only a few bumps along the way. Still, he was on a narrow, predictable path he started so many years ago.

Then, one day, this particular person woke up and looked in the mirror. He discovered he was very old. He began to examine his life and realized that there was nothing to examine. He never took chances or experimented with new ideas. He never won an award or even attempted to do so. His life was flat and boring and extremely safe. This depressed him. He had wasted his life’s potential.

This person became so depressed that he lost his appetite. He went through days, starving. He lost weight, became ill, and grew weak.

Finally, one uneventful night, this person had a final dream. In his dreams he had relived his life, doing the things he only dreamed of doing. Then, he slipped quietly into the abyss of death. His journey ended.

This person became so depressed that he lost his appetite. He went through days, starving. He lost weight, became ill, and grew weak.

His funeral was succinct. Those who showed up soon left after paying their condolences to the widow. Soon, the widow was alone in the house she had shared with her husband. She too was old. But, one day -- long after everyone outside the family had forgotten the name of the person and the accomplishments he made -- she looked in the mirror and realized that her life was just beginning.

EXtra: No Names for the "person"

The story purposely left out the names of the characters. A name is often given to a person to distinguish him or her from others. The aim of the story was to illustrate how this person was far from distinguishable from those around him. He was just another face in the crowd that came and went in life. Nothing special or wonderful. He was just there.

This particular story was written twelve years ago, and was promptly forgotten until I went through some old floppy disks I still had. Oddly enough this story of an obsolete person had been stored on device that was quickly becoming obsolete.

Luckily, I was to pull it off the disk before the hard-drive that once ran them vanished.

The protagonist in this story is pathetic. However, he is not too far from all of us. We can easily become obsolete as he did.

obsolete as the "person" in the story

obsolete as the "person" in the story

© 2014 Dean Traylor


johnmariow on May 13, 2017:

A well written story that describes many men who work their whole lives without taking risks. Very interesting. An enjoyable read.

Dean Traylor (author) from Southern California/Spokane, Washington (long story) on April 27, 2015:

Three spammers in the comment sections..ugh!

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