The eleventh hour …

His breathing laboured , the involuntary twitching of his eyes , the heartbeat erratic …

Time rewound as a myriad of pictures played out in his mind's eye , like scenes from a movie , the camera rolling on and on , frame by frame . A teenager riding his favourite bike , graduation day , eloping amidst a furore , his firstborn in his arms , his wife's grave … 

The frame slowed down as she appeared before him in slow motion , hands outstretched and smiling . A solitary tear rolled down his cheek .

The doctor in attendance shook his head . There was no pulse .

His hour had come .

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