Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A SECOND CHANCE


I come out of the exam hall, tears almost rolling down my eyes. I wipe those little drops off and add a fake smile to my face.

'You are a strong person', one part of the mind tells me. 'How can you let a little thing bring you down?'

The other part doesn't agree.
'How did you do this? How did you let yourself into this trouble? How would you explain this to your parents? What would you tell your friends? What do you plan to do? How will you succeed and fulfill your dreams?' It questions me until I don't have answers anymore.

Even after almost two years of hard work and serious stress and pressure, I fail.
I fail a series of competitive exams that could have ensured me an entry into the most coveted and prestigious educational institutions of the country.

I meet a friend outside the hall. She fails too, so at least I have company. But she isn't visibly upset. She is rather excited, for the torture of exams is over. She wants to celebrate. We leave the place, together.

We are about to go to a restaurant to enjoy our last moments together. She says, 'I don't know where we will be in a month. You and I, we may end up in different colleges. So let's just celebrate our friendship today, consider it my treat.' I nod. I am too exhausted to reply. She asks me if I'm okay, and I smile. The fake smile again. She almost understands. She begins to console me. She says it's not my fault, just hard luck.
My mind retorts.
'Really? Hard luck? That's what you're going to blame this on? Does luck even exist? Have the courage to blame it on yourself, stupid girl'
I listen to her, quietly. Sometimes, I am not even listening. I'm engrossed in my own thought process and half words just go through both ears and out. I notice she is expecting a reply. She raises an eyebrow and looks at me.'Yeah, I get it. You're right. I am fine. I love you.' I convince her to save myself from further lecture. I smile again, hiding my pain.

We have to take a local train. We reach the station, and my friend buys the tickets while I sit down on a bench, wondering.

'Maybe you should just leave. Leave everything, leave everybody. You are just a burden on this earth. Someone like you, what use would you be to this world? You've already wasted all your parents' money and you're only going to waste more? So what are your plans? A local college? A private college? Does it even guarantee you a good job? Does it guarantee you a happy career? You wanted to become something. You wanted to do something great in life. You failed at the first step towards it. You are no good. I tell you, you must leave.' My mind shouts.

I hear someone on the station screaming 'You're good for nothing!'  I don't know if it's only a hallucination or if somebody is really telling me that.

It is over, I have to end it, I decide.

She got the tickets, and we walk towards the line. The train is yet to come, so we are waiting and talking.
No, she is talking. And I am contemplating my suicide. 

It is simple, jump in front of the train. Momentary pain, instant death.

'No sweetie, you're not the suicidal type. You have always expressed your views against suicide. How can you fall prey to that?' the softer mind speaks finally.

'No, you're a coward. You don't have the courage to end your life' the complaining mind alleges.

'You're stupid. You think it's courageous to end your life, but as a matter of fact, it isn't. What is brave is to face the music. To show everyone that you're strong and you never give up'

'Huh, really? That's your explanation? No, listen to me, go ahead. The train is coming. Get...set...'

My friend interrupts me.
'You know girl, I am going to miss you bad. I really wish we get into the same college you know? I don't know how I'm going to do it without you. You're a pearl, my dear. You've always been there for me when I needed you. You've given me the strength to carry on and live in pain. I don't know what it would be to lose a friend like you, but all I know is that I don't want to lose you. Now, just stay with me okay? Things have been bad with me too. I just don't know how to handle it, although I'm pretending to do it well. I just need you so we can go through this together. Right?'
'Right' I reply, wondering if she really could read my mind.

I look into her eyes. I see not only her, I see everyone in my life. All my friends, family and even my dog. They all look at me with an expression that seemed like 'hope'.
A hope that I would stay and comfort them, just like they always have been there for me.

The train reaches the platform and stops. My friend and I get inside the train, reach the station and go to the restaurant.
We indeed celebrate. She celebrates our friendship, and I, my life.