He turned back for the last time. He was leaving it all behind. From now, on, he would have a new identity, a new life. He thought about the mistakes he had made in the past. But could he have made his choices any other way? He tried to turn his mind away from the negativity of these thoughts, and suddenly the beautiful image of his wife pierced into his mind. The shock of that forced him to face away. He looked straight in front, tried to focus on what lay ahead, but his mind lay in the past still. The friends, who had turned away, at his time of need. His own brother had refused to see him anymore. His wife, how could she have deserted him? He had thought this would not be so difficult. But then, he had also thought that she would understand. He gazed at the infinite stretch of road that lay in front; at the solitary tree standing in the wasteland among the shrubs, tall and proud, yet alone; at the hills in the distance, seeming to call him forth.
He sat down and wiped his moist eyes, then stared at the heavens. Dark clouds loomed in the blue sky, trying to eclipse the sun, which persisted in its descent towards the horizon, making long, dark shapes on the ground. He had been an atheist all his life, always the one in control of his destiny, always in charge, always the world had obeyed his wishes, always he had been the master and all of nature his influence. But today, he felt minute, just another speck on the vast expanse of creation, a dead leaf blowing in a hurricane. As he took off his shoes, he looked down at the gravel below him, studying the intricate pattern. He wondered when he had strayed from the long, patterned lines on the road, all so equal in length, so well-organised; to the random mishmash of the gravel, the neurotic chaos of the grains; from the light to the dark.
The wind was changing from a breeze into to a howl. The dusk was fading into the night. He knew he had to move on. Maybe, there would be more opportunities, there would be new friends. Perhaps, there would be a new life that he wouldn't end up hating. He breathed in deeply and stood up straight, facing the road ahead. The light danced on his clothes, half of him ashine with the illumination, half of him obscured as the dark clouds blended into his silhouette. The shadows danced on the ground, trying to make a straight line with his feet, an athlete's start marker, for a man about to embark on a journey. The winds danced amid the flailing bushes, while the tree stood absolutely still, as if in a silent gesture of mourning.
His arms crossed themselves, and between the quivering of his lips, and the tears that suddenly enveloped his eyes, he heard himself pray for the first time.