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Before the Sun Sets...A Short Story

Updated on October 14, 2015
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Another Time...Another Place!

A sharp, bright beam was incising the thick sheet of darkness in her room. Myriad of tiny, shiny specks were seen dancing along the bright path as if celebrating the bright, new day! Unaware of time and place, Sophie was lying still in her bed with her gaze anchored somewhere far away… far away in another day, another time and another place!

Little Eliza...Lizzy, her only daughter was hopping here and there all over the place. Sophie was running after her with a glass of milk which Lizzy had refused to drink…and then Dave and Sophie were driving Lizzy to school…Lizzy murmuring sweet nothings in Sophie’s ears…

“Good morning Mrs. Dave! What a lovely day today!” With Martha's robotic greetings, everything around Sophie shattered into innumerable pieces. Oh! She hated Martha for that. And within no time, Martha swished swashed the heavy curtains wide open. Sunlight came flooding in, wiping away the traces of her beautiful memories. A lot more crescents appeared on her already wrinkled face, as Sophie covered her eyes with her bony, fragile hand. She was brought back to reality. Again, Martha was to be blamed for this, she thought.

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Memories Revisited!

Sophie…a widow who has seen 68 springs in her lifetime…was now living in her country house with Martha, the aide...appointed by her daughter. Sophie had been in bed for the last fourteen months since she had a stroke. Her right limbs were paralyzed and her speech was affected. She couldn’t speak anymore. But she could think. And she could feel. And she could dream. She could not go to places but she could fly back to revisit her life…and that was the most amazing thing…in fact, the only amazing and colorful aspect, of her otherwise dull life. Her memories!

Sophie was still struggling to lift herself up when Martha appeared with her breakfast tray. “Mrs. Dave, Eliza would be here in an hour. You have to speed up and finish your breakfast before she’s here.”


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Turn Back the Windmills of Time...

Eliza was very excited. She was bringing her Mom home. At last, she succeeded in convincing her husband on that. She assured him completely and promised that it won’t interfere with their life. But she knew... it definitely would! It would make her feel happier…happy to take care of Mom… “the way Mom used to, when I was young and totally dependent on her...” Eliza thought as she hurried her two little girls to drop them at her friend’s house before going to Mom's.

Deep down in her heart, Eliza had a strong feeling…a feeling of guilt that was eating her up. “Mom had a stroke because of me… If I hadn’t left the girls with her that day… If I had taken her complaints seriously….she had been complaining about headache and dizziness…If I had listened to her…taken her to hospital on time…If I hadn’t ignored…if…”

“Oh Lord! There are so many ifs…If I could only turn back the windmills of time,” she thought.

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Another Saturday...

Saturday was the only day which gave Sophie a feeling of being loved and wanted. Lizzy and her little girls visited Sophie every Saturday. She just loved Saturdays.

“Eliza…my Lizzy is coming?…So it’s Saturday again!” Sophie thought. Strange, very strange! She couldn’t feel the excitement of it anymore. That craving to see the girls…her Lizzy’s girls...and that sweet satisfaction of holding Lizzy’s hand…No, it was not there. She couldn't feel it anymore!

Eliza had told Martha that they would pack up and move Mom before dusk. “Mom always had this thing about going out after dusk…she was never easy with it. Martha, I don’t want to do anything that would upset her. I just want everything done her way… we’ll move her before the sun sets”, she had informed Martha on the phone.

Eliza was dying to tell Mom about this arrangement. She had kept it a secret till now. She wanted everything to be finalized before she told Mom about it. And the time had come!

Drifting Away...

With sparkling eyes and flushed face, excitement oozing through her gait …Eliza entered Sophie’s room. “Hi Mom”, she whispered in her ear.

Sophie opened her eyes. She wanted to smile back at her Lizzy but couldn’t find the spirit in herself. It was all hollow…empty in there…She looked gravely at Eliza!

Eliza could feel her heart sinking down…With shaky voice she called Martha…”Mom doesn’t seem to be herself…didn’t she sleep well?”

Sophie heard Lizzy but it was all echoes...coming from far away…and it all started to sublime…floating away…turning to silhouettes!

And there she was with her little Lizzy…putting her to bed. Lizzy’s arms were wrapped around Sophie. She kissed Lizzy on her forehead. “It’s time for Mommy to go”…she walked away towards the door…it was all dark out there…she drifted back to Lizzy…held her hand tightly…

Eliza sank back in her chair. “Mom!” she whispered. With a flickering ray of a dying hope, in Sophie’s estranged eyes she sought the spark of life and affection….affection, which defined her gaze… But there was a fearful stillness in them.

Eliza could feel her heart fluttering wildly inside and just when she thought Mom was gone…Sophie gently caressed Lizzy’s hand. Eliza, shaking all over…hope glistened from the corner of her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. “Please Lord… not now,” she prayed.

From a soft caress to a hurting clench, Sophie’s grip tightened on Lizzy’s hand…her form jerked lightly and with a last departing look at Lizzy, Sophie drifted into the dark folds of eternal silence.

Martha closed the curtains.

Sun was dipping down in the horizon...

Drifted away...before sunset!
Drifted away...before sunset! | Source

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    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 21 months ago from Islamabad

      ...so sorry about your father...but yes....this is the ultimate reality we all have to face.

      thanks for liking it...and for your generous appreciation...

    • bahzi profile image

      Muhammad Naeem 21 months ago from United Kingdom

      it’s such a great and touchy story , i read it twice as I felt pain deep in my heart i recalled the time when my father passed away in my hands ........ But its reality of life, one day soon or later we all have to silent forever....

      Appreciation for a great story, keep writing and sharing ...I am sure everyone who read this story has got a silent message ,stay blessed.

    • bahzi profile image

      Muhammad Naeem 21 months ago from United Kingdom

      it’s such a great and touchy story , i read it twice as I felt pain deep in my heart i recalled the time when my father passed away in my hands ........ But its reality of life, one day soon or later we all have to silent forever....

      Appreciation for a great story, keep writing and sharing ...I am sure everyone who read this story has got a silent message .stay blessed

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      and your comment moved me...thank you dear for the second read and hearty apprciation...

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I had to return for a second read and I was moved once again. You are a great story writer! Thank you..

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      Thanks for the kind appreciation, Suraj...

    • suraj punjabi profile image

      suraj punjabi 22 months ago from jakarta

      Great story and very well written. I was thinking of writing a story myself but it is just so hard. You seem to be a natural at this! Looking forward to reading more short stories!

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      That is so very sweet of you Abbas...thanks brother, for your generous appreciation.

    • profile image

      Abbas 22 months ago

      Great story writing!! More you read, more you wanna read!! I felt like I was sinking in to your story/words

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      G Kh...it does have many shades of reality...Thanks for visiting my page.

    • profile image

      Khursheed 22 months ago

      Very sad and touching. Seems like real life story.

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      Thanks Dana for giving time and thought to the story.

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      Yumna dear...your sweet comments are always a welcome...

    • profile image

      Saimasajid 74 22 months ago

      A very nice story showinng the reality of life. Excellent keep it up:-)

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 22 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Sad and touching. At least her beloved daughter was with her when she passed.

    • profile image

      Yumna 22 months ago

      A very heart touching story.

      Again! a great selection of words i must say.

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      Thanks Ruby.Thanks for liking and relating.

      Sorry about your mother...

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I loved your story. I can relate. The saddest day of my life when my mother passed away.

    • Rozina Iftikhar profile image
      Author

      Rozina Iftikhar 22 months ago from Islamabad

      Thanks for reading my story...my very first one on hubpages...and Thanks a lot for being the first to compliment...Thank you Jodah.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A very sad and touching story, Rozina. Something many of us have to face.