It only started yesterday. He was pretty upset. All had not gone well. After lots of practice at the arcade grounds, he had failed to deliver. The examiner had decided he was not good enough, yet, he was not ready. He looked at his bright steel sword placed on his lap and remembered the day before. How his opponent had beat him, right, left and centre. How his practice had failed him! His confidence was shaken. He had expected to win but he did not.
Tears leapt from his wet eyes and streamed down his fair cheeks. He did not know what to do now. In his mind, he thought all the practice was of no avail. Despite it, he had failed.It hurt deep into his conscience. He decided to give up. All of his life, he had dreamt of being a swordsman and not counting the examinations, he was getting better at it each day. He remembered how he used to spar against his classmates and how he used to defeat them each time. Never had he lost until yesterday. His first loss and that shattered him. Not him maybe, his pride.
His dreams now seemingly shattered to pieces, he now began to wonder why he should live. These examinations meant quite a deal to him and he had failed those. He could never become a knight’s apprentice now. He knew his life was worth nothing. It would not mean anything to anybody. In the eyes of others, he was a failure. He had seen that. Knights looking down at him from their podiums, their hopes, their expectations gone down into the drain. He could not bear this shame. He resolved to be dead, to be away. He had been in a tremendous pressure to perform but he really could not do that at the right moment.
He stood up on his feet and raised his sword to stab him in his stomach. He was about to when a blonde looking girl walked into the room.
“Throw away the sword, Roger. Just because you lost the contest yesterday, it doesn’t mean everything is over for you. How could you even think of it?” she said.
Roger looked at her, morose and dejected. “You do not even know what it means. This would have been my life, I so longed to be an apprentice and I no longer have a shot at it. Do you know how important these examinations are? They could make or break and now they have broken me. This examination meant a life to me and you know it. Those knights there on the podium, you did not see them. Their glaring eyes, full of accusations, full of mockery. It was so embarassing. After all those months of practice, I failed. I really did. Now what would I do living?”
“What would you do living? Improvise. Be better. Accept you have lost, only then you can win. Your opponent was a better swordsman. Accept it. You undermined him. In your pride, you fought well but not too well. Accept it. You lost not because of him, but because of your ego, your pride, your overconfidence. You have never lost, friend, and so you have never tasted it. Now that you have, you want to give away the very gift that God bestowed on you? Your parents struggled a great deal. Your mother gave up her everything to nurture you in her womb, so that you be well nourished and happy. You are now giving up all her sacrifice for the feeling of a failure. Yes, these examinations are in a way important but they are not everything, Roger. Understand that. Throw away your ego and you shall succeed. Keep it in you and you shall fail. Come on, be happy now. There is always another chance, another shot at it. Work at your swordplay and maybe you shall shine next year. Do not be bothered about what people say. The people say many things but you should not let any of it affect you. After all, you should live for yourself, your family and friends, not any other, not any knight, not any king, not any queen. When you are in trouble, it is family and friends who help you, not knights. That is also important, serving as an apprentice and by that way, serving the country but this is also important, in fact more. Be merry and live life to the fullest. Once you go back to your arena, I am sure you will regain your confidence.”
Roger looked at her, tears still streaming down. His sword was still in his hands. Then, in the sudden, he threw away the sword which clanged loud on the marble floors and ran and hugged his friend.
“Thank you, Melissa, you have been such a wonderful friend. Thank you for being such a support. If you had not come, I know not whether I would be still alive.”
Melissa smiled, “You found the courage to end your life and that in itself is a great thing. Now, use that courage elsewhere and perform your best. The next year, you shall succeed and I am sure of it.”
Roger smiled and hugged her tight again.
The next year, Roger defeated the same opponent he faced last year. He displayed such moves that the knights were very impressed with him. He raised above his head, his medal tightly clutched amidst his fingers.He had succeeded. He had become the knight’s apprentice, finally and that night, he decided to host a party, in commemoration of his dear friend, Melissa, who was no longer there with him now. She had died six months before, of a ghastly disease. And now as he raised his medal, her spirit appeared before him and smiled. He was in tears. She came to him and wiped them off with her white hand. Then, they hugged.
He had closed his eyes and when he had finally opened up, she was gone. She was around no more. The only thing he could see, throngs of people clapping and hooting on the podiums.
(Disclaimer: Written For Facebook Group Scribbler’s Ink Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/351022088275863/)