Name: Yoga Aditya Pratama
Summary: Elvin, the main character, went for a dinner with his girlfriend Alissa. At the cafe, he admired the waitress, Agnes. His admiration caused him an unbearable trouble. He ended up committing a tragic suicide.
Elvin was in the period where anxiety felt adorable. He often unavoidably dipped himself into it and thus was irresistibly enmeshed in its excitation. He gazed at the window of his room—a shabby room in which his computer, waste-papers, books, empty cups, waste of bottles and light-food packing were all located—to see nothing in the outside. That was his wont. He habitually reflected on things about which he himself did not know—now with so elevated mirth that he tacitly elated so much even though he knew it was truly delirious, now with a deep guilt as he recollected silly things he conducted yesterday.
But today he—a man with lanky, severe appearance, gloomy-faced, tousled black-hair—did not want to be drawn into such indulgence and, on the contrary, wanted to however painstakingly challenge the anguish of reality even though he himself knew that he had been of late exploited by his own apprehension. His recent days, seemed to him, were dead dull. “So are my future days ahead,” he thought, “the imaginary smile before my forehead seems to come to no avail.”
He managed to get out of the room as he was being mindful again from his reverie. “It’s enough for today,” he thought, looking at the wrinkled white-paper upon which his scribbles written—it was all a scrawl about the sub-district head who embezzled the fund for the establishment of a new clinic, “you fooking wanker!” The reproachful manner could be seen through his stare. Then, he closed the door harshly, locked it firmly, went downstairs and left the main building of Intihari’s office.
In the homecoming to his flat, he remembered a pledge he promised to Alissa that tonight they were going to go to a dinner. “I want to get rid of this shitty business,” he remembered she complained on the phone this morning. “Dinner tonight, yeah? Tea Corner, at six. I’ve got something to tell you,” he remembered all her words pretty well. Elvin could not refuse the plea because he was also thinking that it could be the only healing undertaking on his restless days. He swore to fetch her at Gerbang Lama by the time she finished her weekly meeting of the photography club.
At quarter to six Elvin was resolutely standing by the gate. In eight minutes’ time, Alissa came by in a white casual t-shirt and light-blue jeans with her usual straggling charming hair and pretty face but now the latter—as he observed through his belligerent, vulnerable perception affected by the confusion of his recent days—was a little bit pallid even though her face normally shone accosted by the glamorous glare of the sunset beam. However, he resolved that it did not lessen the beauty that had been inflicted upon her countenance. Her face, he often conceived when she was not by his side, was a sort of adorable feature that must never be illegally or illicitly harmed by anyone or anything so that, by this sense, he endured the responsibility to protect it sincerely. There was an occasion in which they cancelled a going-out for dinner because it was drizzling; he said that he did not wish to see her face being damaged by the droplets of the drizzle.
“You look tired, Al,” he greeted as he saw her face.
“Yeah, the report. I forgot to submit the report of the last month’s event and they asked me to finish it tomorrow,” she grumbled, and thus the colour of her visage became still more disagreeable to him, “and the final assignments, the translations, the upcoming final-test, the—. Ah, my life is darned!”
“Look up the sky,” Elvin chose not to take a heed of her nagging words and, instead, directed his forefinger to the horizon in the west while they were walking hand-in-hand, “look, there, the twilight.”
Alissa casted a look to the way she was directed. Her eyebrows and forehead frowned and thus asked what to Elvin.
“Look,” he repeated now with a soft, feeble sound, “the beauty of dusk will forthwith sink devoured by the dark, but the beauty of Alissa will not follow the sinking.”
Alissa fell about and spontaneously detached her left hand from Elvin’s to cover her mouth so as not to let her laugh go wild and thus raised her idle right hand upright in the air in order to point her middle-finger jovially to her boyfriend. Elvin himself knew that that was a comical, ridiculous flirt; but he did it on the purpose to cheer her up because he felt incumbent to do so and he surmised that he himself could not bear the possibility that despondency would befallen upon them both so virulent that they could not cast the slightest smile in the air of worsening dejection. Notwithstanding, it was definitely paid off as he was grateful that he spotted a jolly crimson blush on her countenance.
They at length entered the main pavement of the Tea Corner and gazed briefly at its banner up there above the brown door whose slogan’s rhymes before the full-stops were quite comical yet catchy and fixed in mind unforgettably: We do not serve coffee because racing ideas are signs of bipolar disorder. Tea is faultlessly an exquisite warmish consoler. They subsequently greeted back the waiters’ welcoming words coldly at the door and chose their seats near the window. Alissa as yet chuckled bashfully due to her boyfriend’s unpredictable tease while ostensibly leafing through the menu. Elvin watched the act in merriment because he himself initially did not believe that in his own hopelessness he could jovially liven up another life.
“That was a poem,” Elvin broke the gay silence between them.
“What was?” Alissa diverted her eyes from the menu to his boyfriend’s.
“That…the beauty and the sinking stuffs that made you blush,” he laughed reproachfully and then smiled innocently as if begging for mercy.
“Whose poem?” she frowned and neglected the sneer.
“You never read it to me before. A new one?”
“Errrr, not really. I’ve made that line kind of three months ago.”
“And why haven’t you ever read it to me?”
The waiter at the front came by with a gentle, firm sound in saying “Good evening! What kind of food that would be special for you?” and a note in hand; and thus his arrival disturbed their conversation. Elvin and Alissa agreed to order spaghetti carbonara and lemon tea. The waiter left the couple in a brisk trot.
“Why haven’t you read it to me?” Alissa reiterated her words and thus returned the condition of the talk to the way it was.
“I thought I could surprise you with its publishing on Puisi Publik, but it doesn’t work the way I expected. Intihari couldn’t help. I’m sorry. It could be yet another gift from me for you in your relentless days right now. I’d be happy if it’s published and I guess you’d be, too, because I don’t want to enjoy my happiness on my own.”
“Don’t exaggerate. Of course I’d be happy, but it doesn’t really matter. So, now I know why you don’t surprise me with monthly poems for the last three months,” she smirked.
Elvin became morose and on the other side his partner had been quite cheerful due to his flirt; but his flirt now sounded like a sham. Suddenly, guilt fell upon him. He himself initially knew, without being reminded by his partner, that the guilt was but an exaggeration, but it was still unbearable to him because he could not grip the responsibility to make his own wish happen. Even though he fell into terrible repentance, he tried to cleverly dissemble it from Alissa by commencing another topic of conversation: “So, you said on the phone there is something you need to say. What is it?”
“We’re one week away from the final-test and two weeks away from the holiday, right? said Alissa. “I want us to take a perfect holiday in Jogja. What do you say?”
“That sounds pretty good,” Elvin faked a smile because apparently his concentration was distracted by the awful guilt he himself laid on thick.
“Perfect!” she considered there was nothing wrong on Elvin’s reply. “A week of holiday is enough, I suppose? After the holiday I want us to go to Jakarta. My mama expects our presence there to talk about our engagement. And then—“
“Engagement!” Elvin interrupted quite taken aback. “What the hell! Engagement!”
“Why?” Alissa frowned in amazement, “Why? So, you don’t want—“
“No,” he tried to explain in the ascending, furious bewilderment, “it doesn’t sound that way. Seriously. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I love you and I always try to protect you and our relationship. But, engagement? I’m not quite prepared for that, honey. Really.”
For a moment the simmering air in his soul that suffused the conversation ceased as the waitress came proffering the food they had ordered. “Here’s your dishes, Sir, Ma’am,” said the waitress gently. Her presence quite surprised Elvin not only because the cooks worked on it so horribly quick, but also because she was not the male servant who noted all their orders in the first place; she was a pretty waitress with a glistening grey hair and braids at the front part of her head. Elvin casted a smile and a lineament of wonder to her while she was distributing the plates and the glasses to the perfect places as if there had been an exciting conversation between him and the female servant. Alissa, who noticed an unearthly admiration on his face, acted in askance because it was unreasonable to her that he, who a few seconds ago was furiously flaming, was now in an icy, mild serenity after the waitress’ advent.
Elvin attempted to act normally even though those brief moments just now had diverted a sight on his eyes. “She was, errrr,” he struggled to say something to Alissa groggily, “she was like—“
“She was what?” said Alissa in a high tone.
“She was like my old friend, but…. Ah, nevermind!”
“Her name is Agnes. Try to remember if you have an old friend named Agnes!”
“How do you know?”
“I see the name tag on her overall. You only focused on her face, didn’t you? I watched your face changed while seeing her,” Alissa’s façade now got blushed but in a different way to the last one beforehand. Now it was a sign of jealousy and resentment.
“No, no, no, honey. As I said, she just looks like my old friend. It’s fair if I wonder. Agnes…Agnes…,” he was retrieving all the names in the old days, “yeah, Agnes! From elementary school! Agnes, the piano girl! Honey, would you allow me to greet her and say a word or two?”
“But,” Alissa refused, “we haven’t finished chatting!” Now her face was flooded by the reddish contour of an imminent rage.
“Oh, okay okay. Where were we?”
“Look. I’m unprepared for that thing. It’s beyond my thoughts at this moment. But, I say it once again, just because I don’t want to be engaged yet, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. You know it, Al.”
“I do, El, but what is the matter of being engaged?”
“I’m just a nineteen-year-old boy. I’m not even twenty yet.”
“It hardly matters.”
“Yes, it does! I’m too green to do it. I haven’t prepared anything.”
“You haven’t changed, El. You are still as childish and self-centred as you were. You always crave of returning back to the old days, to your childhood, to your quiet hometown, to your eternal grandmother’s lap on the purpose of gaining divine and genuine happiness. That’s why you never grow. That’s why you’ve never prepared for anything. You look back while your age is inevitably growing old. The sunny days have changed the rainy days, but you are still as miserable as ever.”
A momentary silence prevailed over them, especially Elvin, who was judged by Alissa’s smarting words of his real nature. He could not resist her because he knew it was true. The guilt now got doubled. He then remembered that four months later he would be twenty years old, but it seemed even to him that he had never prepared so much for his twenties. Bizarre thoughts all of a sudden flashed into the quick in his brain: his inability to endure his responsibility in paying back literally all the money his parents had given to him since the first day of his life on Earth (he thought he was responsible for this because he forced himself to do so), his inability to cope with environmental issues such as having so many appropriate, beneficial friends (he only had a few friends), the thought of being the most worthless man on Earth because he had not done anything glorious, and the thoughts of being responsible about political issues—as he was an article writer in Intihari and frequently wrote about politics—such as that of the sub-district head’s case (comically, in political cases like this, he thought he was responsible to write off all the lies and biased, hypocritical ideas of demagogical figures and leaders through his writings; he was, he thought, the only responsible man in the world who had to reinforce the truest truth of policy).
“Elvin!” Alissa snapped in order to cease his delirium.
“Ah,” Elvin shocked as if waking up in a remote, godforsaken glade of a forest,” yes, you’re right, honey. I’m just a contemptible person. I’m a wanker. But, honey, you don’t understand enough. Let me explain a bit. Look, my parents are now in cruel debts. They have to pay all the debts at the end of this month, or else, I don’t know, we may sell our telly, our cupboards, our beds. The moneylenders nearly come to my parents’ house every day. Mama always tells me about that on the phone and asks me to help them out. I can’t bear it…I can’t bear it when she calls me and she is sobbing. I can’t imagine her face in tears! I can’t imagine the glistening eyes of my father either. He rarely calls me but I know he bustles himself in work. A fooking romusha. He works from the dawn until the middle of the night for the sake of his family. But the payment is apparently not enough. I try to help but it is just the same. Writing fooking articles about fooking politics doesn’t pay much. I think of resignation but I don’t have any option of better works. So, Intihari is my best place for the time being. That poem…for Puisi Publik, I failed. The award for publication is five million rupiahs, but I failed. I could spend the money into no spree: I’d pay the debts and, as I said, I’d share it with you. But I fooking failed!”
For a moment, Alissa could not say a single word.
“And the engagement,” he continued. “It’s not only because I’m unprepared, but also because my family is my priority right now. I have to save my family first before forming another family, you and me. And the holiday…I’m not certain I can do that because, as I’ve explained, I’m broke. How can I go to a holiday while my parents are suffering from debts at home? That’s inhuman. I’m a worthless man, but at least I don’t want to be cruel.”
At this point, Alissa did not know how to behave: whether she had to regret because her words showed no empathy or try to console him. The latter choice was complicated because she was in a moment of jealousy as she saw him showing his gaze of a sudden infatuation towards his old friend. She eventually managed herself to look guilty in the eyes of her boyfriend; and Elvin himself was in a condition of quite the same guilt because he knew the words he had just remarked were all so awfully inappropriate.
“Checking, checking,” sounded a feeble voice, “one, two, three, one—“
It was Agnes on the music stage of the café checking the microphone whether it was working. The gentle voice that echoed through the café’s speakers preoccupied Elvin’s attention for a while. And when the rehearsal tunes of the piano reverberated in the atmosphere of the dim-lit yet warmish café, he turned his body to the direction where the sounds came from. He watched Agnes starting the intro of her song with the delicate movements of her fingers upon the tuts that could be seen from afar. When she was into the first verse, she closed her eyes and, as seemed to him, immersed herself in the lake of emotion. Her act seemed to affect Elvin’s soul; he entirely forgot all the belligerent circumstances that had taken place between him and Alissa and focused on the angelic air of the performance, especially when the singer articulated these words:
Underneath darkened skies,
There’s a light kept alive,
Let love conquer your mind.
The listener particularly was shock-stricken by the third line. “Let love conquer your mind,” he thought. “Beautiful. What a beautiful line! It sounds as if all the violence, cruelty, discrimination, hatred could be all erased completely from this world if all the culprits spare a moment to hear and reflect on this fooking line. If only…if only there is love on people’s mind.” His thoughts now, as was their wont, went wild when he was drawn into the world he loved the most.
The performance was a refreshing entity that bathed his mind and soul. He was stricken by the luxurious indulgence of the innocent, indifferent and genuine music Agnes had resonated in. He drew a picture on his mind, after relishing the piece, another side of life that, on one hand, might be a part of his life in the childhood days that had been missing or, on the other hand, was just completely new to him. He was dropped down by his ecstatic thoughts into frenzy of mind where he started to compare his own life and the life that had just been found. His recent days, appended by Alissa’s ideas of holiday and engagement and his parents’ debts that all seemed somewhat terrible and dystopian to him, were being contrasted by the advent of novel, utopian life displayed by Agnes. “It’s like finding another side of your life which you perfectly desire because you are now on a side of dreadful life and being hopeless seeing such idealistic side wavering in its hands to you from afar,” his thought broke loose.
Nearly being so dragged all the way to the delicate excitement that he forgot the food and her girlfriend, he pulled out of his reasoning and turned back his body. Surprisingly, Alissa was not there and the only thing remained about her was the money she put on the table for the charge. She left him unannounced and her food was by no means touched. He gawked immediately and was shocked and upset. Now his predicament grew worse and the guilt was still more unbearable: his heart started to palpitate, his skin somehow perspired, there was burning sensation over his head, and he was haunted by the scourge named failure—a failure of holding a stable condition. He thought he failed to endure everything, especially Alissa. He failed to satisfy her expectation.
He thought of chasing her in the outside but he realized that she had probably been somewhere only she knew. He groped the phone in his pocket and called her, but as he had predicted the number was out of reach. The palpitation of his heart grew faster on end. The figure of himself was sitting on a café seat but his thoughts were somewhere outside being raged by great apprehension. At length he managed not to be drawn into a deeper distress and, instead, pacify himself by innocently taking a gait towards Agnes acknowledging safely that there would be no trouble as Alissa was not around.
“Agnes,” he greeted clumsily as he drew himself closer to her, “Agnes, do you, mmmm, do you remember me?”
“Of course I do,” her smile broke the awkwardness. “You’re the one who taught me playing angklung in the sixth grade.”
“Ah!” Elvin got a relief and then laughed. “So, why didn’t you greet me, then?”
“I’m not allowed to greet customers. Look, there is a superintendent guy near the cashier,” she pointed and he resolved that he was like the fierce eyes of the Big Brother. “I’m employed here just to serve.”
“Whoa! Not allowed to greet anyone but allowed to perform a beautiful piece of music!”
She blushed. “Yeah, I was asked to. I can’t refuse. I include my piano skill on my CV, so when the occasion like this happen, when the band can’t come to entertain us, I am the substitute.”
“That was a really wonderful performance. I was moved!”
“Oh, I’m pleased of being able to entertain you,” she smiled with pleasure.
“It’s been, mmmm, six years, right?” he commenced another theme of the dialogue. “Six years I don’t see you!”
“Seven,” Agnes interspersed placing in an exact number.
“Yes, seven. Silly me. Seven years! Hey, your piano skills improve. No wonder if you succeeded to spread a grandiose atmosphere in this café a while ago. By the way, I don’t remember your hair with braids. With them, you look different,” Elvin manoeuvred to compliment her physically after praising her musical skill—particularly he avoided to say the word beautiful and used different instead. And while his eyes pointed themselves to the braids, he unfocusedly gazed at her childish face in a fleeting period and stared at her beady-eyes involuntarily. He seemed to discover an existence that had been absent from his life since seven years ago.
She blushed still more. “Well, I don’t know. I just love braids. They are cute. By the way, you were with—“
“My girlfriend,” he knew that Agnes felt uncomfortable and thus tried to divert the direction of the chatting. “She is my girlfriend.”
“Oh, and where is she now?”
“She has to go because she’s expected to come soon by the head of her photography club,” he obviously lied.
“Oh,” she nodded lazily.
“Where do you live now, by the way?”
“Sumedang. I’m still in Sumedang.”
“Oh, great,” Elvin hesitated to say further words because he knew this act would be weird, but he did it anyway. “How does it sound to you if I come to your place tomorrow? I want to chat more and I actually I miss…I miss all the elementary-school-ish stuffs. And I miss Sumedang, too, really. My lovely hometown.”
“That sounds interesting, really, but usually every Saturday I’ve always a plan. So, I can’t. I’m sorry.”
“Oh,” he was shamefully vexed. “It doesn’t matter. It’s fine.”
A man in a shirt, dark-blue jeans and a remarkable, shiny boots with neat, gleaming hair and a striking face came approaching them. Agnes told Elvin that he was her boyfriend. Elvin immediately fell into an unavoidable discomfort and felt ashamed by the things he had done. All was stupid. He himself could feel the burning sense around his cheeks and over his head; his heart too palpitated malignantly than ever. “Agnes, I have to go,” he retreated in a hesitant way feeling that what he had done was the most silly thing in his sorrowful period these days and casted an ultimate, constrained smile to the man: “nice to meet you, mate.” He made for the door and while inhaling the breeze in the outside, he had known now what her plan on every Saturday actually was. While going home to his flat, he was contemplating about the disgraceful day and unable to build the slightest definition of what was happening these days to him. He walked bent-headed in extreme remorse and excessive guilt.
Elvin woke up restlessly and wearily at seven in the morning realizing that he only slept for three hours. After the homecoming, exactly at eight, he never stopped to think until the dawn about all shameful things he had accomplished that day. He thought of Alissa’s absence, Agnes’s beautiful performance and simultaneously her smarting refusal over him, and certainly his parents’ debts that as yet throttled the neck of his family life until today as if they were on the edge of a precipice because the end of the month was nigh.
When he managed to get up from bed so as to wend his way towards the scullery at the back room of the flat building to brew a cup of coffee, he located a scrap of paper under the door. He picked it up and therefore knew that it was from Alissa. He opened the paper indolently and read it with the distraction of his slanting eyes. He was vexed by the writing where his girlfriend revealed her disappointment towards him. She wrote that she had actually laid down her great hope on him, but she was let down by the reality that Elvin was too insensible to understand her expectation. She said she had saved up a sum of money for the holiday, asked all her relatives in Jogja about the cheapest and most strategic housing near Malioboro, and frequently convinced her mother that Elvin would probably say “yes” when he came there to talk about the engagement. She penned, “Yes, you would say that refusing the engagement doesn’t mean that you don’t love me, but it doesn’t sound the same to me, El.” His lips trembled fiercely accordingly. At the end of the sheet, he decided that it was the last load of words from Alissa and all at once a break-up letter because the last line said so. He resolved that such letter was metaphorically a hint that she could not be contacted anymore through the best ways possible. He rumpled the paper and threw it away in an indecisive direction. He cancelled the plan of brewing a cup of coffee and flung himself upon the bed instead.
On his recent unbearable days, today was the most unbearable one. Today was Saturday, a free day from work where he could take some relaxing occupations; but such idea sounded unapproachable. The sun shone in the east radiating its thermal, marigold light through the window, but unfortunately it did not affect him at all because now he was feeling totally blue. His physique was immune to its customary affection to all ordinary human beings. He drew imaginary picture before his forehead of his closest companions, including Alissa, Agnes, and of course his parents. All of them, seemed to him, were pointing their forefingers to him accusing that he was the guilty man. All of them seemed to be enemies to him. All of them were a sign of his vivid failure. All of them seemed saying to him, “You are the most worthless man alive on Earth!”
He had no single plan of healing himself in the course of time where his predicament grew worsening. The morning started to disappear and the afternoon came as a usual cycle, but nature was not even a resemblance to Elvin; he confined himself in the most unpleasant captivity and retardation. He began to think of apologizing and begging for mercy to all the people he had saddened, but the idea as yet seemed difficult because he could not even stir up his body in his bed and venture himself to get out of the building.
From his bed, he faced the window where the slanting radiation of the midday sun pierced. Its warmth would never be able to define the truest misery that was reflected by his eyes. Both eyes were glistening; and when the current was intolerable, tears were unremittingly coursing down his cheeks. This childish, effeminate act did not signify that he was a maudlin man; but it demonstrated the idea that it was okay to cry because he had failed to be a flawless human being. All the failures he had achieved made him think that he had no the slightest ability to fit in somewhere in this universe. “Look,” he said to himself looking at the wee scenery out of the window from his bed with a gentle sob, “the lives out there are so proper.”
Shortly, in two weeks’ time, there was no slightest change occurred. He suffered from insomnia and anytime he screwed up his eyes from sleep, he was immediately haunted by the awareness right on his sleepy face that he would sooner or later die buried by guilt. He practically did nothing; the most significant achievements he obtained during this disgusting period were but eating, pissing, defecating, having a bath, sleeping, brewing coffee, and thinking negatively about anything. He remembered that he had experienced this sort of distress approximately two years ago. “Evidently, time heals everything,” he assumed with a fierce sneer. Instead of taking any remedy for himself, he dropped his life down into the indulgence of the state of melancholy. He supposed that despondency had been already a part of his body and life; so, it would be disrespectful for himself to get away from it withal he enjoyed the smarting enjoyment of the experience.
He practically missed the final-test. Occasionally he thought of Alissa and all his friends who had all probably passed the test and therefore enjoyed the freedom form academical noose. He thought that Alissa perhaps had gone to Jogja on her own or possibly with a new partner, but he did not absolutely care about that. He believed that nothing compared to the pleasure of his present condition.
He eventually had a plan. He had to manage it because he knew that his parents would come there to seek another help or, he thought, they had been evicted from home sooner than he guessed; and he believed that he had no ability anymore to help anyone. He would suggest his parents to seek help to the other skilled men, not an imperfect man like him. He was a failure—a perfect failure.
Here was the plan: he would stick an axe on the wall so firmly with the sharp edge facing him that he could crash his head right into it so as to make his head cleaved into two and be lifeless immediately without pain. To wage his plan he scurried himself to find his axe under the bed. He found it so tiny that he doubted it would work in a perfect way. He pondered to borrow a bigger axe from his neighbour in the flat building but eventually he encouraged himself to do so because he did not want to revive curiosity and, besides, he wanted to die without stirring and row. So, he settled with the little axe he possessed. He then stretched two long strings on the left and the right; the one was tied resolutely to a big bolt of the window and the other one was knotted to a big spike on another side of the wall. He put the axe in between and chained it to the strings with a tight, stringent bond. He finished and touched it a little; it apparently swayed unsteadily. He resolved that he would handle the helve anyway so as to make his plan come off as he had managed.
He put himself away first from the spot, more or less 4-yard far. For a moment he quite hesitated. He bent his head and loathed to look at the axe. He thought of Alissa, Agnes, and his parents again. He wanted to apologize, but he could not; besides, he thought, even when he tried to apologize, he himself doubted that he would be forgiven, especially by Alissa. So, he resolved that there was no apology. He drew closer to the axe and then, with trembling hands, he attempted to grip the helve calmly and decisively. The axe was steady now. He glistened for a moment while looking at the silver object that was shining touched by the midday sunbeam so cruel that he pictured on the object a kind of depressing hell. He hesitated again and suffered from nausea in his belly. It was the most trying period of his life. But, finally he smashed his head vehemently in an immediate manner anyway. His head split into two as he had imagined himself. He completely died into the quick. The blood spurted over his vicinity. His plan perfectly worked.
· Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
· “Warrior” by Aurora Aksnes
· Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspective by Sam V. Cochran and Fredric E. Rabinowitz
· The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
· A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka
Word Count: 5,441 words