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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - like a hyena after a zebra, The pains may burn like fire, cut like a Samurai sword, chilling force of the winter, trials, a look in the mirror, China, tears.

“How are you today?” Michael asked her. He had seen her several times in the hallway of their student accommodation in London. She always wore a smile on her face; immaculately dressed like a star on the red carpet. Today, she was different - gloomy and sad. Although they had exchanged a few ‘his’ and ‘hellos’, they did not really know each other. Nonetheless, he could tell that she was not her usual bubbly and chatty self. He kept walking as he posed the question to her, not waiting to hear how she was actually doing. It was the typical “How are you?” The one everybody asks in the morning because they have to – an unwritten code. “So why do you ask,” she shot back at him, stopping him dead in his tracks. He turned and glared at her. His face gave away his shocking surprise. She stared back at him with ‘bold confidence’. “Yes, why do you ask?” She asked again. “Are you asking because you really care about how I am doing, or are you asking just for the sake of it? Just to ask because everyone does?” Michael was clearly startled out of his wits. Rooted to the ground, he gaped at her, barely able to find an answer. A cavalcade of tears began to march around her eyes, revealing the pains, sadness and fears that she had been harboring inside, while smiling and chatting as though all was well. “I…I…Actually…To be honest, I am not quite sure how to answer you,” Michael stuttered.

“So you asked just like everyone else?” “I guess you are right, but I am sorry. I do care now that I see tears in your eyes. Is everything okay? What is the matter?” “Can I talk to you?” “Yes, of course. Let’s go over there where we can sit down and talk,” Michael said pointing to a set of couches in the lobby. Slowly, she followed him over to the couches. She sank into one as though she had just completed a marathon. “I am pregnant,” she said. “I don’t even know you that well, yet I am talking to you. I am so afraid. I guess I needed to talk to someone,” she said as more tears deluged her face. “I am sorry to hear that. Have you told the guy responsible? Have you told your parents?” Michael asked cautiously. “I don’t know who the father is. I got sucked into nightlife in London – you know the partying and clubbing. I was playing around with any guy that was available, from clubs to dorm parties. I have been pregnant for nearly three months now, and I did not know who to talk to. I think my belly is beginning to stick out now. Can you see it?” “Not really. I think you need to talk to your parents.” “They will kill me. They will ask me to return to China immediately. I am so afraid. I am so ashamed. I have let my parents down. They have given up so much to give me a good life and now…” Her voice trailed off as more tears flooded her face.  Carefully and calmly, Michael encouraged her to talk to her parents. “Will you stay here with me while I talk to them?” She asked, almost childishly.

Michael had a class to catch but he could not possibly leave the scared and emotionally bruised girl by herself at this point. “Yes, I will,” he answered with a reassuring smile. Shaking with fear and tremor, she managed to make the call with Michael standing beside her. He smiled and encouraged her as she spoke to her parents in Mandarin. When she was done, she heaved a sigh of relief. “They want me to return home as soon as I can. They are sad, but they promised to be there for me,” she said with almost childish relief. “I am glad. It won’t be easy, but everything will work out well somehow. You have done the right thing.” “Thank you. My mother said she will be there for me. She said it is not the end of the world. I thought she would yell at me on the phone. I am very relieved. Sorry, what is your name?” “Michael Adeboye.” “I am Ting-ting Yu.” “Pleased to finally meet you officially.” “Pleased to meet you too. Can I get a hug, please?” She asked. “Of course,” Michael answered. She hugged him firmly and thanked him effusively before they parted. Soon, she was on her way back to China, and they both remained friends, communicating by email. She named her baby boy, Michael.

That makes you wonder how many of us carry deep and searing burdens around on a daily basis. Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life in our modern world, we wrap ourselves up in immaculate colors and pretend that all was well. You smile broadly, masking the fears and pains that stalk you relentlessly like a hyena after a zebra. Like an artist, you clothe your pains in elegant colors, maintaining a tight lid over the tears that threaten to burst onto your face like a dam breaching its boundaries. Like a flood, you go with the flow, not knowing who to trust; and rightly so. Amid the scary inner discussions that take place within you and the challenges that dress up every day and visit your life with annoying guts, there is so much more in you! The pains may burn like fire and cut like a Samurai sword, but the strength deep within you is like a sea – a deep, calm sea that absorbs the mighty force of ginormous ships and the thrashings of mammoth whales.

It withstands the biting heat of the summer and persists, despite the chilling force of the winter that coldly annexes life from the landscape. Like the generous sea that feed birds of the sky and uncountable fishes that inhabits its borders, the power in you can accommodate challenges and trials that your mind cannot begin to fathom. When trials come your way; and they will as far as we live on planet earth, summon your inner strength and fight with resilience, one day at a time. Find trusted friends and family who will kindle the fire that is meant to burn in you; those who will stoke the fire and set your mission on earth ablaze. Your trials are but a phase…Successful people failed once or twice but got up and tried again. No matter what you go through or what you are going through, remember that truly, a hero lies deep within you. It shows up in times of crisis – that is what it is made for. Bend, but do not bow out. Cry, for that is no sign of weakness, but pick yourself up again. Fall, but rise up again and fight one more time – that may the all you need to conquer your challenges. Love yourself…accept yourself in a healthy way, for the person who will work the hardest for you is the one that you see when you take a look in the mirror. At the end of the day, we all carry our burdens around…and we all carry heroes and heroines within us. Let it shine when life’s challenges come calling at your door!

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Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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