A story from The End to Once Upon A Time
“…The End”, said the man in a low voice. “The end? No, this can’t be the end. I want more! I want more!” exclaimed the child. “No son, this is the end of this story. Always remember every end is not the end but it may be the beginning to another story” that said, the man patted the boy to sleep and got up from his chair closed his book and kept it in his pocket. He slowly walked to the washroom using a support at every step. He reached near the basin, turned the tap on and stretched himself with a big yawn. He stared into the mirror, as if he was searching for something. He then touched his face, ran his fingers along the small wrinkles near his eyes, touched his dried lips, ran his fingers through his salt and pepper hair, wondering how many years have passed since that day. The day his world turned upside down, the day he lost something special, and the day it all started.
Just as he was walking down that memory lane, the keys rattled, the main door’s doorknob turned, and there was Mrs. Janson at the door. A short fair lady, in her mid-30s, hands full of bags of groceries, exhausted from all the work, Mr. E peeked out from the washroom and started walking towards the door to help Mrs. Janson. “Good evening Mr. E, how was your day today?” “It was good, just the usual kind.” They sat down and started chatting about their day. “Oh I almost forgot here is your fee for the day”, said Mrs. Janson. “Thank you, Mrs. Janson. I think I should take my leave.” Mr. E stood up and slowly started walking towards the door. He put on his overcoat, his old black hat, and swiftly opened the door and made his way out. “Goodbye Mr. E”. “Goodbye Mrs. Janson”.
It was 9 o’clock, the path was pitch black. Mr. E was slowly walking on the road, thinking about his dream, the only dream he ever had.
‘He is walking towards the stage and voices of people exclaiming ‘Evans, Evans, Evans, Evans!’ reverberating in his ears. He is presented with the ‘Gradam don údar’ (Irish for ‘Writer’s award’), the highest rank award for the writers in Ireland, by his idol, Aiden Cullen. The award, an ephemeral beauty, a sight to behold, was a majestic award, a statue of a book from which 75 golden birds are flying out’ He is suddenly wakened up by his wife calling out his name, as he was late for his work. He gets up looks into the mirror and sees a knight who is in quest of his passion, his dream, the Gradam don údar, but on the other hand his wife looks at him and sees a person in his late 40s, the father of a kid, who is chasing his passion of writing and is ignorant about his family life. Usually, their morning used to start with a fight about his disturbed work life balance. This morning was no different. As the quarrel started to heat up, their 9-year old daughter came rushing into the room calling out for him, “Daddy, there is a call for you.” He picked up the phone, and on the other end was Mr. Aiden Cullen “Good morning, Evans McLaughlin. I am Aiden Cullen, the current jury member of Gradam don údar. We are delighted to inform you that you have been nominated for the award and we look forward to your presence at the award ceremony tonight at the Griffith hall at 2130 hours.” Evans was shocked to hear those words and could hardly murmur out, “Thank you…Mr. Cullen”, and that was all he could utter in the state of awe. He was suddenly on cloud 9; he went hugged his wife and his daughter, and broke the news to them. His wife was excited and happy for him. She completely forgot what they were fighting for and started planning for the evening.
Come evening, the whole family was ready and they were looking forward to the evening. Little Angela, also prepared a best wishes card for Evans, “Daddy, go win the award, all the best”, said the colorful little card. On their way to the Griffith hall, Evans struck a conversation with his beloved wife, about his sole wish of receiving the award and that too from his idol, his passion about writing, and his future plans about investing more time in writing novels. Anna disliked this idea of his, about investing more time into his work. She was already upset about his unbalanced work life. She quickly resented the idea by saying, “Angela is growing up, she will need your help and attention, I think you should pay more attention towards her and me rather than ‘investing’ more time into your work. I know it is your passion but your work is just a part of your life but family plays an important role too.” Evans quickly reacted, “That means I should stop my work, I should stop writing, I should stop doing the only thing I dreamed about since I was a small kid. Is that what you want?” soon the discussion tuned into an argument and got heated up. The road was poorly lit and a heavy vehicle was fast approaching towards them which failed to get Evans attention amidst the argument, and caused a massive accident. When Evans gained his consciousness, he called out for Angela and Anna. He had gained his conscious but was not able to open his eyes. Soon a nurse arrived and filled him in with the information that, unfortunately, in the accident he had lost his wife and his daughter, and also his eyesight. This filled him with grief, sorrow, and guilt. He uttered, “Arriving somewhere but not here…” by which he meant that he had planned on spending the evening with Anna living his dream but due to the argument he arrived somewhere where he didn’t want to be, and at that particular time he just wanted one thing- his family.
He snapped back into reality where he was walking down the dark path, tears start to roll down from the side of his eyes. His lips uttering the words, “Arriving somewhere but not here...” and then he collapses in the middle of the road. The people in the neighborhood soon turned up and took him to the hospital. While filling up the form the man who took him there was asked about the patient’s name, “Mr. E” he said. “Sir, we would require a full name”, replied the nurse. The man’s son told him about Evan’s book that he always carried along with him and from which he used to tell stories to the little kids. The man, in order to know Mr. E’s complete name, took a look into the book and was shocked to learn that the man was the great, Gradam don údar winner, Evans McLaughlin. When he tried to know more about him by flipping the pages he realized the pages were empty, and the stories he used to tell the kids were the ones that he used to make up right then.
Soon the hospital was flooded with all the clients that Mr. E had. When the doctor arrived, he explained that Mr. E had a stroke and was not out of danger. He also told them about his blindness which shocked everyone as they had never realized it. He permitted them to meet him for a short while as it could be the last time they meet him.
As everyone entered the room, Evans asked them to settle down and wanted to tell them something important. “I was and am a mere storyteller, but the real story of our lives is written by God almighty himself. He has already assigned some specific time for all of us. But we humans spend that time chasing our dream and forget about our loved ones. Remember, a man without a dream is called a loser but a man without a family is called unfortunate. I committed a mistake by blindly chasing my passion and dream, and forgot to spend time with my wife and my beautiful daughter. That is the reason I used to come daily to spend time with your children as they remind me of mine. I request you all to stop taking life so seriously and halt for a moment to spend time with your family and loved ones, because the moment is always fleeting it is our job to make the most of it.” That been said, everyone was in tears and seeing Mr. E’s condition started bidding farewell to him. Then a kid came and started tenaciously begging Mr. E for one last story, Mr. E started, telling him the story then lay still. With a message that, “Every end is not the end but it may be the beginning to another story”, and his last words were “Once upon a time…”