There was a loud buzz as the confused audience asked one another, "He's fainted?" His father jumped to his feet and rushed up to the stage. He shook Tom furiously, crying, "Tom! Tom! Answer me!" When Tom made no reply, the father yelled frantically, "Quick! Someone! Call the ambulance! This is an emergency! Quick!" Soon, the dismal wail of sirens was heard.

"No! No! That can't be true! No!" the father burst into tears and sobbed, covering his face with his hands. "No!" It was a cry of anguish and despair and he thought his heart would break. How could this happen to his son? His only son! Tom's career as a pianist would be ruined! Ruined! Another giant wave of misery swept through him and he wept even more noisily.

Awkwardly, the Doctor patted his back, hoping to comfort him. However, the father pushed his hand away and whispered, "Please! Leave me alone! I need to be alone." The Doctor looked at him, shook his head and left, for he too felt tears coming into his eyes.

After some checkups in the hospital, the doctors confirmed that Tom had indeed gone deaf. There was no cure. Too much damage had been done, the doctor explained. Overwork had worn Tom's nervous system out, causing a breakdown which resulted in his loss of hearing.

The father walked out of the hospital as though in a trance. His face was as pale as that of one about to meet his doom. It was completely devoid of any emotion. Pondering about his son's future now gave him massive headaches, so he chose to simply block out all thoughts from his troubled mind and just walk on and on. Why, the sense of hearing was one of the most vital criteria a pianist simply HAD to possess! Without it, Tom was now as helpless and vulnerable as a newborn babe.

Do they have any idea what I'm going through right now? He thought bitterly. Walking along the streets, jostled by the crowds, he only saw face after face, each as blank and expressionless as the next. It seemed as though he was trapped in a nightmare, a nightmare that consisted of a world where he had destroyed his son's future.

The father's unsettled expression attracted strange stares from some people. Bristling with rage, he stomped home, kicking pebbles and cans lying in his way. Unable to bear the heavy burden any longer, he broke down along the road and cried, oblivious to the odd looks given him. He wept for the loss of his son's career, the misfortune of the greatest pride of his life- his son. Thoughts flooded his distressed mind. He was tired, very tired.

Suddenly, it began to rain. The rain pounded the hard stone pavement, drenching the father in his sorrow. It continued to fall like a million tears, speckling the ground. The father fell to his knees. All around him, umbrellas of various hues bobbed up and down gaily. People hurried past, not giving him a single glance. How cruel and heartless the world seemed at that moment! Soon, there was only one lone figure kneeling in the rain.