He did not have to read any further to know the content of that email. The response was inevitable but yet it hurt like a sword piercing through his heart. The wounds were so many that he had lost count.
Failure had been like an unwanted piece of gum stuck on his favourite shirt. No matter how much he scrubbed, it stubbornly stuck still. It was taking a toll on his health now. But he was a slave to the expectations, chained and forced on a hamster wheel.
“If only you had completed college like your cousin…” He zoned out again. Family was tough. He could not leave them for they were his sole emotional crutches. Yet, often times, they stuck a painful blow on his shins. Perhaps, unknowingly.
Then there were the sadists. They only revelled while putting him down and feeding on vulnerabilities. “So you got fired?” He wished he could scream, just to prevent the entire gathering from catching up with the latest broadcast of his personal life.
Failure followed him like that dark shadow in the narrow, deserted alleyways. The night was too dark and his leg was sprained. There was no escape. Then came the attack that left him bleeding.
He believed he was avoiding the society till the society started avoiding him. Once they were his best friends, partners in crime, but now they do not bother. He is no longer invited. It is not contagious, you know. The voice in his head snidely remarked at them. Deep down there is a longing, a desire for that healing balm of friendship.
Love has a lot of conditions. “I’m not lazy.” He said, again. It is not like he was not trying. If only they knew his troubles and struggles. Compassion, too, is a sparse currency.
He finally decides to finish college. It is never too late, that is what the motivational speaker on YouTube said. It is a new day and his energy is amped up. The old teachers do not recognise him. They only remember the bright ones. He does not blame them even though it hurts. Peers are unforgiving. His late show to the young world of the university is rewarded with isolation and ridicule.
“And those years of hardship have made me who I am.” He ends his speech to a thundering applause. He can see through their mind. They only see his achievements. It is not much different. Earlier, they only saw his failures. Will they ever see him, for him alone? But he sees everyone, unadulterated by their social standing. Failure had taught him the most valuable lesson, of self-worth.
A dedication. Dear friend – I believe in you.