Prompt – Subtle
He wears a smile wherever he goes. The pain, the hurt, the insecurity; he hides behind a mask. A mask of joy and happiness. Happiness so pure, it’s almost unreal; even though it is, for he is not happy; or joyous. His heart aches, his head hurts, as he wonders when, just when, when will he feel true happiness again.
His life had been perfect; his joy intact. He was a little boy with not a care in the world. A child’s happiness is heavenly; it is perfect. Perfect as the child has not gone through a lot yet. And so, he lives each day, smiling, laughing and jumping, because life is good, very good; at least for now.
Good things happen to bad people. Not that they deserve it, obviously, or that they put themselves in precarious po-situations™; these bad things just choose you. And once you have been chosen, there is no escape. Besides, where is the fun in bad things happening to bad people?
Like every other day, he played; innocence so overwhelming, it was too good to be true. Little did he know the ceaseless joy was life’s way of preparing him for years of unhappiness, of insecurity, of pain, of hurt, of tears he would have to hide.
Everyone has a cross to bear. No two crosses are the same. Similar, yes, but never the same. Some crosses are tougher to bear or carry than others. That is how it can appear anyway. But in truth, all crosses feel the same. Because pain is pain. And hurt is hurt. A loss is a loss, and a cross a cross.
But he would realise that all crosses are really not the same. His cross, so tough to bear, he would not wish it on his worst enemy.
His life was about to start. He was going into a new place, a new part of his life. And he was going to leave home for a while. Others cried at the beginning of this race as they had never been away from home. But not him; he was enthusiastic, a curiosity so intense burning inside him as he lived for new experiences.
The race started well. There were a few hiccups but nothing out of the ordinary; normal things that occurred in this type of race, or world. He endured the bumps in the road as he knew the time to return home, albeit for a short while, was near. The fact that he was blessed with rather good looks attracted a good number or ‘she’s’ and this made enduring the hurdles easier.
This race had 6 legs, or years. Each leg had three laps, or terms. Altogether, he was going to go through eighteen laps, terms.
His life was going fine. Still a joyous boy, but not as joyous as some years back as various experiences opened him up to the evils of the world, he tried to enjoy every passing day.
And then it happened. In a very odd way. A way so enigmatic, it was obvious life wanted his happiness destroyed, gone..lost.
He had been called before the cross assigning board. They had said, as he clearly remembers,
‘You have been chosen boy. Your joy irks us. And so we have decided to plague you with a cross; one so…..so heavy’ the word heavy had been dragged, for emphasis. He had asked,
‘Why? Why now? Why me? Why?’
They had replied,
‘Never mind that, young boy. Just listen. Now this cross is one we thoroughly prepared specifically for you. One we feel you will have great difficulty accepting, or bearing. One that plagues you physically and emotionally. One that will be obvious to every other person, just so your pain is further aggravated. One that grows. One that is alive.’
‘But I do not deserve this. I have done nothing to deserve any of this’ he had said.
‘Shut up boy! No one chooses a cross. If they were allowed that luxury, crosses would be easy to bear. And that would not be fun, don’t you think? ’
They had dragged the issue. He argued and argued, trying and hoping to convince them to give the cross to another as he loved being happy. He pleaded but their conviction was unwavering.
On noticing this was a battle he would never win, he fell to his knees, weak, as he had almost no strength left in him.
His cross was placed on him.
‘Before you leave boy, know that there is a way out. But also know that we hope you never find it’, they had said as he left.
The next chapter of his life was about to begin. A chapter so long, so painful, so unfair for a boy so innocent.
The cross was heavy. One whose existence could not be traced or connected to any occurrence or disease. This was the first pointer to it being an actual cross. The cross he was to bear on his stay here.
This is his cross