I stared at the blank mass of html gone crazy. Well, a blank mass of nothing on the computer screen, anyways. How long had I stared at that thing? It kind of disgusted me now. Like how forty dollars worth of a single fish looks nasty after sitting in the refrigerator for over a week. It loses its zest. The flavor somehow evaporates onto thin air. But unlike water, it doesn’t cleanse and replenish itself. It hangs there, reminding you that you had just spent forty buckaroos ornamenting the trashcan.
It was the stubborn glaze of sunlight sifting in through the window in tiny grains – like a surveillance video watching my every movement – that was bothering me, I realized. I clamored over the window and gazed at the last specks of sunbeams that had lasted through nine. Somehow things had started disappearing, taking the only bright, yellow object with them. An iota of time later, the stars would scrambled around the sky like the puzzle laying out across my desk. One tiny part fitted into the next, but if you looked just close enough, a gap seperated them and gave them their individuality.
The day, if you must know, was December 31, 2008. I was in bed snugly by ten, the warmth well into its full array. People across the district were gathered amongst themselves, a chance to see their loved ones first thing in a brand new year. 2009 was supposed to bring something to the world. It could have been a thinner, more beautiful you, or a top-of-the-class-engineer-graduate you. Whatever it was, something felt desonantly right.
People grabbed magazines off the racks and experimented with their brains. They wore high heels or walked for the first time. For an autistic child, his or her resolution would be to talk the following year, while a paralyzed man sitting amidst flowers on a hospital bed may want to glide through the open air as the fireworks shattered the sky every eve. You may have wished for an “A” in Advanced Biology, and I could’ve wished for one, too. There were wishes blooming everywhere; at least that part was true.
I was only thirteen. Thirteen and a half, but high school looming in like ever before. The thought of being an adult in five more years just didn’t appear to me what a creamy chocoloate sundae would look like to a child. There was nothing appetizing about having to start living for myself. As Mahatma Gandhi once quoted, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” That was exactly what I was afraid of on New Year’s Eve, 2008, a year so many people were ready to leave behind. That was exaclty what I was afraid of: making a mistake.
I’ve lived my life like it’s the start of something new. I’ve never felt that this was the peak of my living. There was always something that could be bigger or better. 100 in an Algebra test? Could’ve been better. Twelve page short story? Why not thirteen? More than someone pushing me, I’ve pushed myself. That one mistake I was fearing would demolish chances, I thought. I was wrong. It would only teach me black from white, right from wrong. Like my 8th grade history teacher told us, stop looking for the gray when there really only is a black and a white.
It has been less than two year since that day, but I have learned so much. I know when I am fourty-five what happened to me thirty-two years ago won’t make a minute difference.What matters more is that today, even if I make a mistake, I’ve learned to release that fear and never make that same mistake again. The greatest mistake I could ever make is fearing my whole life that I was going to make one.
As the clock rang twelve and fireworks burst through the still air, I closed my eyes and whispered, “I will make a difference in 2009.”
I took chances that year. When will your time come?
Happy May, everyone.
Word of the Week
1. a constitutional monarchy in the Himalayas between N India and Tibet. 22,641,061; ab. 54,000 sq. mi. (140,000 sq. km). Capital: Katmandu.
Picture of the Week
Taken by yours truly, Bhabika Joshi
Challenge of the Week
The definition I gave for Nepal was bland. Can you give me your definition of what the word, “Nepal” means to you?