Collateral Beauty of Life
“Collateral Beauty of Life” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Sneha Vijayakumar.
Collateral Beauty of Life
Has anyone ever felt rejection? - Rejection in your personal life, your family, your friends and your dream college? Well I have. My whole life I was rejected. This is my story.
Ever since I went to kindergarten I was a lonely kid. Everyone thought I was weird and different from them. They thought I was a monster or a witch, but I was just an ordinary kid like everyone else. I stood out from everyone. People judged me just by my looks and didn’t ever want to get to know the real me. Like we have all learnt “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, my situation was the exact opposite. I never had any friends, so I made my own, the ones who would like me for who I am. Though I knew they were imaginary, I didn’t care. My parents knew how hard it was for me to look at my brother go over to his friends’ place while I sat in the corner of my room and wondered where I went wrong. My brother too knew what I was going through and he too was doubtful whenever he went to his friends place. He would ask me if he could go. He was the only friend I had, but I didn’t accept him as a friend but as a true brother.
I used to wonder if I did something wrong while trying to make friends. I would ask myself “Did I make the conversations too awkward?” or “Did I do something wrong in the rules of making friends?” At one point I just gave up. I didn’t care if I had any friends. But it started to affect me emotionally and mentally.
I was an introvert during my primary school days. The best kid in class, “model student” the teachers would say, you can even say I was an “A1!” student but I was always an “F” in making friends. Rejected by everyone. When I was in the 3rd grade I would see people just like me with 10, 15 and even a whole group of friends. I would go up to them but I would feel like they didn’t even bother noticing me. Like as if I were INVISIBLE. My parent just thought that since I was young and I still had time to grow they didn’t mind. I would always tell them that I didn’t have any friends and they would try to cheer me up by telling me that I have plenty of time and it’s “just the beginning”.
When I went to high school, I moved to a new country, a new start, a new school and hopeful to make friends. During my first day of school I actually made a new friend. Her name was Sara and she was really a kind person. My parents were proud. They were finally proud for a valid reason. Usually parents would be proud of their children getting outstanding marks, top the class or get appreciated by the school but this was a common thing for me. My parents were proud of me for finally having a friend!
We used to hang out a lot. We were best friends. Every lunch period we would meet up at our favourite bench near the window and we would have the exact same lunch. We were inseparable. But one day something was different. Sara changed, not by different lunches and ignoring me, but she went rogue. Something messed with her head. We got bullied by these three people who were a year older than us. I think their torments just got to her head and she did something bad. She tried to teach them a lesson. I too was involved. I feel she brainwashed me with the thoughts of how it would be if the bullies got bullied. Though all we did was, take them away to school and tied them up to chairs and videotaped their reactions for the whole world to see. We didn’t hurt them. I didn’t even mean to hurt their feelings but something came over me and I joined Sara. Due to our actions we almost got sent to juvenile prison. We were only 16.
My parents were disappointed in me. They didn’t want to bring up a child who could go to jail and think of such things. Therefore they kicked me. Mainly it was my dad. My mom cried and pleaded so hard to let me stay but my dad was right. I didn’t want my parents to suffer for my mistakes so I left. Though I knew it would hurt them even more. The people who were always there for me during my ups and downs were gone from my life. I got rejected by the people I loved the most, but all this was my fault and I deserved it.
Now I’m back to the beginning. Invisible, monster, witch, alone, REJECTED. All those thoughts came back to me. My brother on the other hand got a job and started to pay for my final years in high school. I studied hard and made my brother proud. He would talk to our parents sometimes and he would talk about me and how hard I was working. Whenever he spoke to them I would lie on my bed and cry myself to sleep thinking about my parents. He knew that I was really sad about not hearing or seeing our parents. Sometimes I would hear him crying in his room and I would go and sit and talk to him. Life became hard but I managed to go through my last days in high school and guess what… I passed with flying colours. I was the topper in the whole school.
Now it was time to go to college. I got seats in the world’s top college. Even better I got into five. I went for the interview at Harvard, my dream college, but they rejected me due to my “history” with friends. My dream college is now gone.
I got into Berkley and somehow I made a huge group of friends. My brother got married and has one kid. My brother was proud of me and I was proud of him. I found a special someone and we lived happily ever after.
*So this seems like a fairy tale where it had a horrendous start but everything turned out fine in the end. But not in this story*
I got a job and started a family. I had married my special someone and got two kids, twins. I thought maybe things changed. We were having a great time. The most perfect life I ever had. But one day everything changed. My special someone was gone. I spent two years with him and now he’s gone. He took my children too. God has taken away my family, my life. I felt a huge burden fill my heart. I couldn’t think straight for months. My brother and sister-in-law had supported me through the months. During that point of time I met Sara. I hadn’t seen here in years. I lost contact with her after the incident in high school. But again like I said she changed and she convinced me to do something that would hurt my parents and my brother. I went into depression and almost killed myself just so that I could be with my family.
Now I’m fine, my health is perfect but I started to believe in three things or more like beings that are present in this world. LOVE, TIME, and DEATH. All these things are a part of life. You have your loved ones and you start aging, eventually you die. This is the cycle of life.
Everyone in this world needs to experience loss and rejection. We need to become strong and understand that everything is not how you want it to be. Not everything can be planned perfectly. We humans need to go through the ups and downs, the hardship, loss, rejection and death. Sometimes we need to accept how things are. However God has planned our lives we have to go with the flow. We have to expect the unexpected and learn to see life in a different way and see the COLLATERAL BEAUTY OF LIFE. My name is Sara and I was rejected my whole life.