Paying It Forward

“I don’t recognize myself anymore. I don’t remember the last time I was happy, you know? I know what you might be thinking: yet another depressed teenager, trying to glorify sadness. Sometimes, I do wish I was that ‘depressed’ teenager, that ‘beautifully broken’ soul everyone seems to be emblazoning nowadays. My pain, however, is not something worth romanticizing. It is not the kind of misery they write poems about, not even close. My pain revolves around other more trivial things artists prefer staying away from.
It is me lying paralyzed in the bed every morning because the idea of school is plain terrifying. It is a deadly sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when the teacher asks me a question I know the answer to. It is the relationship advice I give to a friend at three in the morning while ignoring the fact that my Mom isn’t talking to me anymore. It is in the forced, cold smile. It is also in the fact that nobody ever notices the smile not reaching my eyes. It is lurking within the anonymous hate and death threats I receive online from my ex-boyfriend. It is in the constant feeling of disappointment I see in my Dad’s eyes whenever he ends up looking at me accidentally. My pain is not anywhere near a terminal disease. Neither is it greater than that of starving stomachs in a far-off land. My pain is constantly feeling guilty about being in pain because others have it so much worse.
I wouldn’t lie. In the last few months, I have had multiple urges to pick that blade up again and finish everything once and for all. Then I notice the scars on my arms looking back at me, reminding me of the days when my body used to suffer the wrath of my mind or the days when I’d spend hours in front of the mirror, desperately trying to conceal the array of wounds on my skin. It makes me realize that no matter how brutal life gets, it would always be better than dying without leaving an impression on this world. The only thing worse than getting defeated is giving up.
I don’t know where this will reach. I don’t know if my words will survive till they get acknowledged. I don’t know if they even deserve to be acknowledged. But if they do, I just want to make one thing clear: I am never giving up. I will fight whatever the universe throws my way. I will live.
If you’re reading this and looking for a signal not to lose hope, this is it. You were given a chance at life over millions of other potential souls. Don’t go down without showing us what you’re made of. The world wants to celebrate your story.
I will live and so will you.
Love,
X.”
After going through her clumsy cursive words once more, she rolled the paper up into a scroll. It was another one of those nights. She slid the letter inside a mason jar she had brought along. The waves crashed along the shore noisily as the full moon kept her company. Beaches had always been her place of solace. She could sit on the shore for hours, the roaring water silencing the screams echoing inside her head. Making sure that the jar was tightly sealed, she tossed it in the sea with all her might. It lingered in the air for a second before getting lost between the folds of waves. Feeling lighter, she turned around to walk back home. She had chosen to live once again.
Who knew a couple of words could save a life?
* * *
He stood barefoot on the baked sand, trying to steady his breath. It was another one of those days. The harsh sun shone directly overhead as he inspected the angry purple lash running diagonally across his pale, skinny arm. He cursed the day the accident had happened five years ago, snatching his family away from him. Moreover, he cursed the fact that he had survived, only to end up with foster parents who practically lived on abusing him in whichever way possible. Not like he had a choice though. He was an orphan. Basic essentials of life had to be earned the hard way but this was a price too heavy to bear.
Shaking his head clear, he took the few rickety steps that distanced him from the water. He would be reunited with his family in a matter of minutes. The thought itself was enough to make him smile in delight, revealing a chipped tooth he had received a few months back in exchange of a stale meal. He closed his eyes and continued walking into the water, the levels of which had reached his knees by now. He wouldn’t cower this time. Suddenly, he felt something warm collide with his leg, interrupting his reverie. He absentmindedly tried kicking it away a number of times but it’d simply come around again. It was as if someone was intentionally directing it towards him.
Sighing in annoyance, he bent to pick it up. It was a mason jar with a loosely rolled scroll resting inside. He could see some cursive writing in pink ink, waiting to be read. He weighed his options for a moment. Eventually, the curiosity got the better of him and he took a few steps backwards to steady himself. Gently taking the paper out, he read through it slowly, squinting at the words he couldn’t quite understand and missing his days of school with a tinge of pain.
A minute or so passed. Taking a deep breath, he skimmed through the letter once more before placing it inside again, making sure it remained dry. Smiling weakly as he closed the jar shut, he wondered what the author must look like. Slightly fazed, he lightly set the jar in the lap of a retreating wave and turned to walk back towards his own personal hell. He had chosen to live once again.
Sometimes, a couple of words is all you need.

5 comments

  1. Prachi Valechha Dec, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    This made me feel something. Thank you for writing this.

    • Manasvi S Chauhan Dec, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you so much!

  2. Mansi Jain Dec, 2015 at 6:43 am

    This is beautifully written.

  3. Mansi Jain Dec, 2015 at 6:42 am

    This

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