1 Loss

To Luther, life was a laborious struggle, and every tomorrow, a test of his willpower.

Luther's workplace was a den of wolves with an overbearing air of hypocrisy. Every interaction was laced with dark intentions in order to propel one's agenda.

As someone who belonged to the bottom-most rung of the workforce, he was tasked with unreasonable requests, successive overtimes, and unwarranted scolding from his superiors. His achievements would then be grabbed by someone else, claiming it for themselves.

'Today marks my third year anniversary in this company, yet I still haven't heard any updates from the management regarding my request for promotion I submitted six months ago'.

With an audible sigh tinged with sorrow, Luther decided to continue on this path as he had no better options, anyway.

Luther had lived his life with the purpose of providing a better life for his loved ones. Despite his parents' divorce, he kept a positive outlook in life in hopes of things turning for the better. Occasionally, he would visit his parents' residence separately just to keep the precious bond between them, even if it's just an illusion.

A chunk of his income would then be deposited into his parents' bank accounts, equally divided between his mother and father.

'It is indeed hard to be a good son', Luther would often joke to himself with a bittersweet feeling in his heart.

What gave meaning to his lonesome existence was the obligation and responsibility he had to his parents. 'At the very least, I don't want them to suffer financially', he thought with determination.

In the end, all his efforts proved to be meaningless. His mother had remarried a foreigner and set off somewhere unbeknownst to Luther.

'She should have at least informed me so I can properly send her off', was what he thought as the sense of defeat washed over him. He could not help but feel neglected.

On the other hand, his father got deeply involved in a shady business in a futile attempt to recover what he had lost, only to exacerbate his existing problems.

*****

On a typical cheery day where infatuated lovers strolled the parks like lovebirds, Luther's gloomy mood made a vast contrast against the lively backdrop.

He was lackadaisically sitting on one of the benches, deep in thought on how he'll be able to overcome his ever-accumulating bills, but before anything, he had to address his growling stomach.

He stood up wearily from where he sat and approached a nearby stall as he intended to buy a stick of squid balls and a serving of rice dumpling. He requested for an extra serving to be parceled, planning to give it to his father later that night.

Out of the blue, an acquaintance he vaguely knew from the past suddenly ran and spoke to him with urgency. His concern could be visibly seen on his face as he relayed a tragic message to Luther.

After a short while, Luther was informed that his father was mugged by a group of thugs whose identities has yet to be identified. Immediately after, his father was then brought to the hospital in critical condition.

"Dad..!" As shock and desperation overcame him, he rushed to the hospital where his father was admitted after inquiring about its location from his acquaintance. His leftover food splattered across the ground along with the parcel which contained his father's share.

As if to signify something, the sky rumbled furiously as the sudden downpour of rain lounged towards the ground without much of a warning.

'God, please...I beg you', Luther had no other thoughts in his mind but a sincere prayer to the one who governs all miracles, imploring for his father's safety with all his heart.

As his last living relative, his father's existence was what kept him moving forward despite how unjust the world had treated him.

Luther shuddered and immediately banished the idea of the worst coming to fruition.

When he arrived at the hospital, what greeted him was his father's lifeless body, situated on a bed covered by a white linen cloth. As he stretched his hand to make contact with his father's skin, a strong sense of grief drowned him even deeper into despair.

Bawling his eyes out, Luther contained his sobs as they silently reverberated throughout the ward.

After making a scene, the Doctor calmed him down and kindly urged him to proceed to the hospital's cashier to pay his father's medical expenses.

Looking at the medical staff performing their tasks mechanically as if his father's death was nothing but a passing breeze, he could hear the metaphorical sound of 'cracking' within him.

He smiled crookedly, thanking them for their services while tears and snot covered his face as he tremblingly handed out the payment.

'Well, isn't it normal? It is not like my father's death is of any consequence to them.' Luther slowly walked towards the exit of the hospital with a lifeless gaze.

He was all alone now and had no one to rely on.

Upon exiting the building, he wandered aimlessly across the streets for about an hour, drenched in the rain. He often bumped into strangers. Some reacted fiercely, some indifferent and some threw accusatory gazes at him. But he did not care as he did not have the energy nor the will to do so.

After a while, he found himself standing on a patch of grass near a middle school building. As the rain ceaselessly pounded his entire being, his heart finally gave in.

His knees buckled in as he forcibly gripped his chest, regurgitated an incoming howl as though he was out of breath. But alas! a heart-wrenching scream that dared to tussle with the rumbling of thunder escaped his mouth.

"Ahhhh, I want to...take a long rest.."

As his vision began to lose focus, he could hear running footsteps heading towards his location.

Before he could confirm the identity of the person, his body was finally swept by the accumulated fatigue as it fell on what seemed to be a woman's bosom.

"So warm", was his final thought as he lost himself to the soft cushion that embraced his shivering soul.

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