Mountains of pain

Sherif was sitting at the top of one of the cliffs in Ein Sokhna all by himself, he had a passion for mountain climbing and the view was breath-taking, it was almost dawn time and the weather was rather chilly and dry..

Sherif could almost talk to the skies, he felt they could answer his every wish and every command despite the fact that the pain and grief he felt were beyond imagination.  Three months ago his father passed away after a long enduring struggle with cancer to which he almost spent every penny he had ever made to try to cure him, but it was to no avail.

He still remembers the last words his father told him

“Son, when I lost your mother thirty years ago giving birth to you, I to a great extent blamed you, it has been a thorn in my heart that I have been unable to remove,we’ve lived  seven years trying to have a child and nothing worked until one day the doctors announced that she’s pregnant and that was you, I never imagined that something or someone can come between me and her not after  all that time, but it happened..”

His father was sitting in his hospital bed connected several machines that are getting out different readings.. Sherif tried to calm him and telling him he doesn’t have to talk and that he should rest..The total whiteness of the hospital gave Sherif the feeling of sickness, the odor of medication just made him feel this is a torture place not a place for people to rest. He always hated hospitals and his father always fought with him just to take him to a doctor for a visit..

But his father refused to rest, he coughed a bit and tried to grasp his breath before adding

“I’ve always been extra harsh on you, driving you to be nothing less than the best and I know I’ve stepped over your emotions and ambitions, I’ve tried to take out all my anger on you into whipping you to be a better man than I was ever to be, I loved you like I’ve never loved anyone before and I’ve hated you like I’ve never hated anyone before either.

You my son, are my greatest victory yet my shameful defeat you have proved to me how much I was wrong in everyday you have grown, unfortunately I was to realize to late how many times I’ve shattered your dreams and fulfilled mine in you, I do not know if I can ever ask you to forgive me.“

Again Sherif tried to interrupt him and at this moment his father placed his hand over his lips..

“Silence, I beg of you to hear me out, these words have taken me so long to have them finally released from the captivity of my soul.

Sherif, my son, I know I leave you no legacy to cherish, no loving memories of a father who did his best to see you smile, I know the scars of the times I’ve whipped you with my belt for every mistake you ever did.. I know you remember well every time I took away simple joys of life to try to make you a serious person and despite all this the kindness in your heart has defeated my cruelty and my inability to overcome of the demise of your mother..I beg of you in her memory to try to find space in your heart to forgive me.. “

Sherif tried to reply but his father held his hand and squeezed it with his week palm

“But before this I need to ask you one last favor..And do not deny my request..”

Sherif couldn’t think of what his father had on his mind.. In that moment he could remember very vividly the only times his father ever satisfied with him, which is when he won any competition in the sports he had chosen for him or when only became top of the class. Playing soccer or hanging around with friends in his father’s eyes was a waste of time and effort and only leads to being a useless man. Despite all this if there’s one thing he ever got from his mother it was her heart and her ability to love indefinitely and as everyone recounts, no one had seen the human side of his father, that side that never got out except his mother..

Sherif leaned next to the bed looking at his father with a mix of pity and sympathy as he replied “Yes? What is it?”

His father grabbed him by his clothes and pulled him near and whispered

“I need you to…” He slowed down a swallowed before continuing “I need you to pull the plug on these machines.. It’s too much..I’ve had enough and I can’t take it anymore.. For the past seven years I’ve done nothing but sit here like a useless corpse.. If there’s any sake I can beg you for , is at least for your mother to please shut these machines and let me rest in peace..”

Sherif looked at him silently.. He could see the memories run past him “That’s how a man wins!” his father always said whenever he won a competition.. “This is how you become a man my son!” every time he successfully overcame an opponent..

And whenever he failed he beat, shouted and yelled at him..There was no mercy or acceptance for failure..

Sherif felt his father’s hand.. That hand that had so many times patted his head and beat him to his knees..

Sherif remembers going to the doctors and taking their approval and having heard it from his father direct..

Sherif watched the doctors as they shut down the machines.. They already had told him long time ago that they were what was keeping his father alive and breathing..

By the following day it was all over.. His father had left this world..

Sherif opened his eyes.. He looked at the horizon ahead of him…The emptiness of his world was incomparable to anything..

Alone in the world.. Sherif stood and let out a shout that echoed throughout the mountains.. As if they had felt the pain he felt and shouted back at him..

Sherif  took his father’s army badge of honor and placed it on the mountain top, it was written in the will, his father hadn’t left him much of money.. And asked him to place his badge of honor on the first mountain they ever climbed together..

He looked down at it for a few moments then began to descend..

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