"I never thought that I would spend the rest of my life behind these walls. A kind of voluntary jail", said Mohammed, the 70 year old man, to his neighbours in a rest home. His tone was full of regret and sorrow and reflects the depth of some silent suffering that had dwelt in his soul for ages.
"Is it really voluntary? I rather think it is compulsory", replied his close neighbour Farouk.
"How?", asked Mohammed.
"We have no choice. It is obvious and doesn't need any further explanation", Farouk explained.
"I always ask myself why can't we at least live with our children and even split the bills with them and keep our family gathering and its warmth and atmosphere?" Mohammed said.
"Our children can't, can they?", another neighbour whose name is Omar noticed.
"Yes, they can but they are selfish. They threw us to uselessness and loneliness and restricted their duties towards us in popping in from time to time.", Mohammed explained.
"They are poor too! Don't forget that they did what we had done to our parents, so how can we blame them for abiding by a social habit?" Farouk said.
"It's cultural, it is the way how our mode of living has worked for ages. We can't change the whole economic and social system by an individual initiative", Omar said.
"Do you think this system is good for us?", Mohammed enquired.
"It proved efficace and workable and it has been leading the globe for decades", Omar answered.
"I am not proud of a system that throws its elders and rewards them with ungratefulness and treats them as slaves", Mohammed added.
"We did our job and leave the scene to the next generations to shape their own future", Farouk said trying to sound sensible and realistic.
The three elderly men were sitting around a table in the rest home's garden under the shade of some tall trees, longing for the ground's petrichor and listening to the occasional Twittering of birds. It was a sunny day in the mid of May and the regular absence of noise sometimes seems killing and makes the one feel out of time.
"By the way, our friend Yahya will leave us soon. He found the best solution by getting married to a widow who lives in a small farm in the countryside." Farouk informed his two neighbours.
"A new romance adventure at this age, how?", Omar noticed jokingly.
"Love has no age my dear", Farouk suggested.
"Don't you think that he is courageous to defy the whole social and economic system by taking such a decision?", Mohammed asked.
"Sure he is. He opened the door to a new life, hope and perspectives and broke the chains of loneliness." Farouk said and went on in a self confident tone full of enthusiasm:
"I think that Yahya's decision can be inspirational for all of us. We can enjoy our life here or somewhere else if we put up with some new ideas to improve our way of living here. At least we aren't homeless and we are well taken care of by lovely people here. We should overcome our negative thoughts and defeat our illusions. We should start a new chapter in our life and it must be the first one not the last one".
"Don't be a dreamer and forget your usual utopian ideas. We aren't young anymore my dear",Mohammed answered and added: "we can't defeat our biological nature!"
"As long as I am alive I am young. As long as I can set new ambitions I am young. As long as I use my loaf I am young. I do believe in this and I will never surrender to despair". Farouk said.