The doors softly slammed shut and it became very quiet and dark inside the car. Old man on the backseat watched rain drops silently knocking into the car window, thinking about something. Finally he turned to the driver and commanded: “Move on!” Long black car quickly drove in the bright evening city, exciting envy and admiration in passers-by.
He had a lot to think about. Theatre wasn’t good for him lately: all this drama, loud voices and exaggerated passion. Hustle and bustle before the performance was increasingly annoying him, as well as whispering in the stalls and the strong smell of some women’s perfume. This smell sometimes reached his baignoire, tickling his nose and forcing to wince. Had he been younger ladies would pay more attention to him, and he would have been far more loyal to their little flaws. In any case, he had no choice but to tolerate the presence of other people in the only place he still visited – in the theatre.
However, today the old man was more concerned about something else: the girl, who played the role of a shepherdess, seemed surprisingly familiar. Her blond wavy hair, a little naive big blue eyes… and this dynamic personality, as if he had already seen her somewhere, but could not remember where. Given that for many years he hardly left the house and never looked into the face of his servants, it was particularly strange. The old man fumbled a theater program, impatiently waiting for the new entrance… When the girl appeared, he found himself thinking that he could not take his eyes of her.
He had no children, no wife. He did not have time for a family before that fateful day at the end of the war. And after it the whole world knew and hated him. Money helped to hide from human anger, but not from the loneliness. Much later, when time has changed his features beyond recognition, he sometimes appeared in public, trying to enliven somehow his dull days. But neither the years of seclusion, nor thousands of self-justification attempts, nor smiles on people’s faces that he sometimes saw now, did not help him to forget that day. The day when one of the continents ceased to exist because of him, when he pressed the button.
City lights flashing through the windows of the car merged into a big bright picture. Somewhere there lived people who had families, children and grandchildren, pets and someone who will understand and comfort during difficult times. He had nobody, and will have no one close. He will not teach his son and would not be proud of him; no one will congratulate him on an anniversary and no one will give him a friendly pat on the shoulder, remembering the days lived; he will never see the smiling eyes of his granddaughter, simply because she does not exist.
And then it dawned on him. He took out the theater program, neatly folded in the right pocket of his coat, turned on the light and frantically began re-reading the actors’ names. None of them were familiar! He red again … Leaning back on the car seat, he turned off the light and closed his eyes. He does not know and cannot know this girl, this is absurd! He took a deep breath and tried to calm down … And then he saw her again: she, with the same blond hair and blue-eyes, led him by the hand through the maze of gloomy long tunnels, saving from some unseen danger lurking in the dark. He saw a small bright spot in the distance – salvation was near! And then the girl turned around, looked sadly into his eyes and let go of his hand. The old man woke with a start.
This was his childhood dream. He often had it when growing up, each time waking up in a cold sweat when he could see the light at the end of the tunnels. But in previous dreams the girl would not let go his hand, and led him vigorously forward to the light, looking into his young eyes with hope. Only now the old man understood, and bitter lump rolled up to his throat. No matter how many days are left in his life, he had missed the chance to get out of the tunnel. Some mistakes just cannot be corrected.