Little teacher Station. My all exams finished and I was waiting for bus. At that time sudden, I saw little, so pretty, sympathetic, clean and stylishly dressed a boy. He is about 4 or 5 years old. He used to collect garbage around the sidewalk so take it to special conteniars. I was watching the clever boy during a few time. This Street crowded, in this case lot of people look at the boy and shying for casting own garbage to walkway. They watched the boy a fewer time and blush from own behavior. I also watched the position so thought about doing goodness for enviroment. The goodness absolutely return to our life, even will influence to future. Definitely, being decent isn't depend on to age or format of humans. Those only depend on a person's soul and behavior. I figure out, the boy teach me that lesson, besides stayed at my mind as little teacher.
I sit on the soft grass, the Oak tree behind me providing shelter from the raging sun. My fingers trace the bark behind me, my toes burying into the dirt. I can't help but wonder, Oak trees live for hundreds of years. This one has probably seen just as many humans sit under its boughs. This is when I wrote my first letter. Dear Ms.Forgotton, It's the 1840's. You've got curls pinned to the back of your head that keep getting caught in the bark. Chesnut hair, tired eyes, and a threadbare dress. You look like something out of a Christmas Carol. But more than that, you look human. I want to know what your favourite perfumes are. I want to see the hairstyles you dream of wearing, but were too lazy to pin up. Did your hands get sore from setting hair rollers, like mine do? Even though we're years apart, how different can we be? I'd give anything to speak to you, girl to girl. In another life, maybe we could have been friends. I feel a certain twang in my chest as I watch tears come to your eyes. They're fiery, defiant. The look of someone who has something to prove, but nobody gives you the chance, right? For what it's worth, I'm sorry. It's hard to be a woman, no matter what time you're in. I hope you were happy in the end though. I burn it that night. I don't know why, but I feel like it might find it's way back to her. In some way. The next letter I write on a secluded beach. Dear Sir Forgotton, It's the middle of the night, 1775. I'm watching you pace the sands, running your hands through your haggard hair. Little do you know, I'd be here one day, sitting against the very rocks that you now plop onto. You're stressed right now about your store and taxes. There is a book in your satchel, Thomas Paine. I bet you'd be surprised to know it's in a museum now. Our historians obsessed over your signature on the inside cover. I think you and I would have gotten along well. I own a small business too, just like yours. And let me tell you Sir, it doesn't get any easier in the future. You seem like a friendly man. I want to offer you some tea and chocolate, sit on the sand and lament about life with you. We may be decades apart, but how different can we be? We're both human, after all. After writing to him, I burnt his letter too. I couldn't stop thinking about whether he'd went home and heated coffee, or milk. Whether he'd stayed awake all night, or slept fitfully. I wondered what he did for his birthday, since mine was later that week. Then, I wrote my most recent letter. Dear Mrs.Forgotton, I'm your great-great-granddaughter. I don't know much about who you are. Only that you came from India. And you never went home. I think of you as I pull on my deep blue sari. It's my favourite one. As I wait for my mother to finish getting ready for your other great-great-grandaughter's wedding, I pick up a book to read. Then I remember you couldn't do that. I remember you couldn't read or write. That you spoke a different language entirely. My name is still Indian, Grandma. But our family only speaks English now. I wonder what you'd make of it. The world was wicked to you. I can't dream up your happy ending. I don't know where you died, or what your name was. I don't even know where you're buried. I wonder if you had pin straight hair like my father. Or wavy locks like my sister. Did you pin it up in braids like me? Was your favourite fruit mango? What songs did you hum under your breath while you worked? Did you like stories? It's strange to think that the same moon you looked up at, I did too. I don't think we're that different, though the centuries divide us so. I can't explain what it is to be human. That's something I'll leave to the scientists. But in my opinion, to be human is to want to be remembered. From the beginning of time, humans have dug their fingernails into everything since stone scribbles. Dresses in museums were tried on by girls who wanted to look pretty in it. Books were read and marked to say ‘This was mine. When you read it, remember the hands that held it before you.' We have walls with scratches, engraved jewelry boxes, embroidered jackets. All from humans who made their mark on something. Even if it was small, it was something. We idolise these things, put them in glass cases. Because we know that we want that, too. The sand and the grass may not remember us, but we remember eachother. Immortalization in the form of history. And even those, like my grandmother, who didn't leave anything tangible, gave us something anyway.
June of 2022. So far, I got an IELTS to get privielege from English subject and focused on studying the newly added subject of law for the entrance exams to the Tashkent State University of Law. I clearly remember the times that I read a law book for eight hours from morning till night without even going to school. This went on until January, and by January I had almost finished the books like 20 times. At that times I got very deep know to win against the law students of our whole region. I've won all the money from block tests, all the prizes, and some education centres even rejected me, just because I've been taking all the money. It was a wonderful times. And then June came. It was very difficult to study in the heat, it was very difficult to not sleep in the afternoon, but I did not stop, because there was very little time left until August. The exam was supposed to be on August 15th. On the night of July 28th, I remember very precisely, I was walking into the next room after my native language class and I heard a girl saying: "Exam dates have been announced, August 1st!!!!" And I was shocked when I heard that. I came home quickly. When I got home, I started planning for the next four days. I'll give you an idea of how hard I studied in those four days -- four days of reviewing the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th grade law textbooks, the Constitution, the 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th grade history of Uzbekistan, and 10 block tests. So imagine that I did a 15-day plan in just four days. And finally, the long-awaited day that I never thought would be so tragic for me finally arrived. I was so excited about the test building that I felt 100% confident that I had the maximum knowledge to pass the test. As I walked into the building, I felt more confident and took a big step. The tests were distributed, and I had two hours. I opened the textbook, and I did my first law exam. And I was so happy to open it, because it was so easy to do the law test, and I could do it in just eight minutes. And the joy of doing compulsory subjects has stayed with me. But as soon as I opened the math compulsory block, all of a sudden the excitement was gone. I struggled to answer those three questions, and I was about to give up, but then I remembered the difficulties I had faced during my matriculation, and I felt that those three questions were nothing. Again, with the fire in my eyes, I was thinking logically, drawing, and working on the questions that I couldn't get out of math. I was so excited, I thought it was going to be at least 187.9, score, so I started copying the answers from textbook to the actual title.There was very little time left to copy, I had to copy two questions per minute. I got it right on time. I was so excited about the fact that I could now compare my transcript to my transcript and shout it out loud when I got out, that I took my transcript and compared it to my transcript. And I looked question 41, which was a B in my test book and an A in the title. I couldn't believe my eyes and I checked it three times. It was as if ice water had been poured on the fire in my eyes.I quickly handed the title to the controller, and a minute ago, the boy who was thinking about shouting loudly could not even make a little sound. I've gotten to the point where I don't want to step out of the binomial that I've stepped into. I felt like a celebrity when I walked out, because there were so many people who knew me and wanted to know if I had scored 189 score or not. Unfortunately, I had misplaced the question, which was worth 3.1 points, in the exact title, and I couldn't fix it, and no one would listen to me. Imagine, from January to August, I never scored less than 186 to 189 on any of the block tests, but I may have mistaken the easy test two or three times over the block test. I don't regret making mistakes because of my lack of knowledge, but I'm hurt that I made mistakes when I had access to the grant with my knowledge. So I was recommended to TDYU as a contract student. My family felt sorry for my work, but they encouraged me, believing that there was some wisdom in it ... .
Exactly a year ago, on January 5, 2023, I was preparing for a important competition with some of my school pupils. We were 5 people in a team, and I was the captain. From January 2023 onwards, I and my team started dedicated daily preparations to win this competition, which would award winners with $10,000(Regional), $30000(Provincewide stage) and 50000$(National stage). It was a considerable sum for my school administration to enhance our school's infrastructure, providing much-needed upgrades such as new computers, modern heating systems, and improved furniture. We were determined and diligent to achieve this until an unhappy situation occurred. As the captain, I was given lots of homework and tasks every day by my teacher. I should have done these assignments completely and on time. One day in early January, I had read somewhere that consuming lemons (lemon tea), could act as an energy booster, allowing individuals to work tirelessly with minimal sleep and breaks. I estimated and said to myself, “Alright, if one lemon could provide energy, three lemons would triple the effect.” Without adequate information, I rushed to a fruit shop, purchased three lemons, and consumed them raw, without any accompanying tea or sugar. Initially, the impact was exactly as promised – a surge of energy and adrenaline. However, what I failed to consider was the potential harm of excessive lemon consumption. The next morning was an absolute contrast; I could scarcely open my eyes; I felt terrible with no sign of adrenaline or energy. I told my mother about my condition, and right after that, I was taken to the hospital. The diagnosis revealed a significant drop in blood pressure and discomfort in the liver, directly attributed to the excessive lemon intake. I was promptly taken to the hospital and treated there two weeks. I thought I was unable to help them, and I couldn't do anything about studying. I had had two choices. The first – I get rid of all responsibilities and assignments, and we lose the competition, consequently, I can have a big rest. The second – despite my current condition, I attempt to complete my tasks as much as possible, as a result, we will be able to reach our goal. My parents and doctor suggested to prefer the first choice. Yet, on the night of January 10th, I called my mother, requesting all my books, assignment papers, and my computer to be brought to the hospital. Being really ridiculous and annoying to my roommates, it was encouraging to my team and people around me. I was given tasks, and I had decided to divide it into my team members, discussing who should improve which skills. It seemed to my team like I was controlling them, but eventually they understood me as I started working in the same temp with them. It endured 13 days: my learning at the hospital; my group at school. During this process, the main doctor approached my talked with me. He said “What do you want, acting in this way? It could be harmful? If someone is forcing you to do so, right now inform me!”. Then, I answered “Sir, you don't worry. I ought to win this game because thereby I can benefit my school. A school I'm studying may not be the best one, but it gave me valuable knowledge. Thus, I have to repay. I admit that our school is not well-equipped. There is a shortage of furniture, computers and other needs. If I win this game, my school will be able to afford it. The things, they afford, maybe be used for several years or decades by many pupils. It makes me certainly happy and content with my achievements. I want this, so I mustn't miss the chance.” My words were very emotional to doctor. He replied, “If you do this in service to others, you are real leader, and I'm proud of you, but care about yourself.” Fortunately, we won regional stage of competition, and we got prize 10000$ to our school profit. School staff, pupils and my team and I were really cheerful for that. The subsequent provincewide stage, while not resulting in a win, did bring recognition as the most powerful English learner for me, and an additional $20,000 to our school's benefit. Eventually, I started improving my soft skills such as creativity, leadership, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and collaboration, in the way learning and practicing. Hence, I succeeded in every field I had chosen. For example, graphic designing, which was absolutely unknown field to me, became a swift success story as I established my studio, "Proud LMS," and executed significant projects in a remarkably short time. Likewise, I wanted to improve my English level; I attended classes. I was a student who came late and left early, however, who also take a good score in IELTS, 7.5. Moreover, in early December 2023, I received the "Patriot" medallion from Minister of Defense of Uzbekistan, and turned into an influential member of the community.
"So, you've finally caught up, huh? It took you agents quite a while. As for your 'kings and queens,' they're probably too busy lounging in their opulence to care about the real struggles of the people," she scoffed, her voice dripping with disdain. The agent tightened his grip on the weapon, a glint of irritation in his eyes. "Watch your tongue! You're in no position to provoke. We're here to deliver justice, whether you like it or not." The woman, undeterred, maintained her defiant stance, shielding her family with the strength born out of desperation. Her eyes glared at the agent, a fire of defiance burning within her. "Justice? You're just puppets dancing to the tune of those in power. You won't find justice, only oppression," she retorted with a steely resolve. Her mind raced, searching for any opportunity to shield her family from the looming threat. The agent, unmoved by her words, signaled to his comrades, tightening the grip on his weapon. "Enough talk. Your rebellion ends here." The atmosphere grew tense as the woman braced herself, ready to face whatever unjust fate awaited her. The lead agent's voice reverberated through the room, a stern declaration of charges that hung heavily in the air. "Ezzah Edison, you are under arrest for plotting and leading a rebellion against the government, a treasonous act that undermines the very fabric of our society. Your involvement in initiating a conspiracy against the I-Landers, spreading false rumors, engaging in hate speech, and attempting murder can no longer go unpunished. Surrender yourself voluntarily, and justice will follow. Refuse, and we will use force to uphold the law."The weight of the accusations pressed on Ezzah like an unrelenting force, but her eyes never wavered.With a defiant gaze, Ezzah stood tall despite the circumstances. "Arrest me if you must, but know that the rebellion will not cease with my capture. You can imprison my body, but the spirit of resistance will endure," she declared, her words cutting through the tense atmosphere. The children, wide-eyed and terrified, clung to each other, absorbing the gravity of the situation. The lead agent, unmoved by her rhetoric, motioned for his team to secure Ezzah. The room became a battleground of wills, a clash between the enforcers of authority and a woman determined to defy the chains of oppression. As they approached her, she couldn't help but notice the trembling hands of her children and the anguished expression on her husband's face. Ezzah Edison, once a pillar of strength in her community, now faced the harsh reality of the consequences of her actions. The intruders closed in, their movements deliberate and unyielding. The sound of metal restraints echoed in the room as they prepared to take her into custody. In that moment, Ezzah glanced at her family, finding solace in their eyes despite the fear. She whispered words of reassurance to her children, promising that the fight for justice would endure. As the agents restrained her, she cast one last defiant look at the lead agent, a silent vow echoing through the room. "Fear not, my cherished ones. Fear not, my beloveds. In the shadow of adversity, the robin and swan shall stand guard over the sanctuary of our souls," Ezzah whispered tenderly, her voice carrying the weight of a mother's unwavering love and a rebel's undying spirit. The arrest unfolded like a somber dance, a struggle between an individual's quest for freedom and a system determined to maintain control. The children, now forcibly separated from their mother, clung to the remnants of familiarity, their world forever altered by the intrusion of authority. The room fell into a heavy silence, punctuated only by the distant sounds of the bustling village outside—a stark contrast to the turmoil within the Edison household. "As I tread the path to trial, know this – I am the embodiment of truth, and you stand on the wrong side of history. The grim reaper may soon beckon, but the flames within my spirit shall endure. Fire, my friends, cannot be extinguished with more fire," Ezzah declared with a serene yet resolute demeanor, leaving the gathered villagers with a lingering sense of defiance.
Ali Mardonov is one of the bullies and regular boys of the Serob. Serob is a large village. This village is divided into 4 parts and its names are also a bit spectacular: Past, Dash, Boy Qishlaq and Kanaljiyak. This place has no problems except sinecure. There are no industrial and other buildings. Everyone made a living by farming. Barely every kind of work has to be done by hand. And this life was waiting for Ali too. The sun is shining and Ali must go to school. He must score an A mark today, after that, he can earn 2000 sums. After that, he can go to the city to play video games with his friends. He tried to do homework in English. He memorized numbers from one to twelve and the alphabet too. He knows the teacher will give excellent marks because of his hard work. He was one of the bully boys in this class. The door opened and a new teacher entered the room with the director. “She is your new teacher from English, I hope you follow her” said the director and left the room. After taking a deep breath “My name is Madina Bekmurodovna,” said teacher. Ali was surprised after this work, he did not know, how to solve this issue. He had one purpose. On the one hand new teacher means a new opportunity for taking the easy mark, on the other hand, she might use another technique and new theme after that he can't take the needed mark. The teacher took a bag and put it on the table and said that she would reward those who answered well with a gift. It was an unexpected way to attract pupils to the lesson at that moment. Students stopped whispering and they concentrated on the lesson for winning the prize. The teacher gave them a task for solving to them. Ali tried to be first because the topic of the task was the alphabet, numbers and weekdays, but Abror did it. Ali felt that he wanted to learn English, but he was not sure about it yet. When he watched TV at night, he saw a show about pilots and he wanted to be like them, “I want to be like them, Mom,” said Ali. “You must learn foreign languages to be a pilot,” said the mother and she discussed it with her husband. After that, Ali and his mother came to Madina's house. Madina heard about Ali's interest and asked him a few questions. He passed the exam with an awesome impression. He studied English very well, he used to carry books with him everywhere. He seems to have found his identity. He went to competitions between schools, made friends and tested his knowledge. Unfortunately, his teacher got married and Ali was left alone. He had to learn on his own. The reason was that his teacher had moved away. When he graduated from school, he scored bad results in competitions. His friends had advanced a lot. Afterwards, he started to prepare for the State Exam using the developing online education. Online education helped him a lot. In the exams, he scored 78% result above was returned. And it was getting better. Although, there are 13 days left for the main exam, a new law was adopted, according to which it was announced that the exam will consist of 2 subjects instead of 3 subjects. He knows about his relative's eyes on him. He may lead them to the future by achieving this result. Because if he entered the university, the children of his relatives would also try to enter. Ali should be a leader in this regard and he knows it himself. The day of the exam came and he went to take the exam. Ali was not excited, he didn't think about anything, he just left responsible. After the exam, Ali showed the result of 73.4%. It meant failure. He could not enter the university. Then he stayed for a moment like freezing and he just continued his daily jobs. He heard that his classmate entered the university, it was not tragedy, tragedy was his father's words “If you score good result, we will celebrate like them”. Listening to these words can be a deadly punch when you fail at something. It was not charging, it was a dream of the father. He settled on restarting everything after 3 months, he looked for a new teacher and joined his course. “You said that “I was prepared from English ago,” said the teacher but you can't answer my questions. “How long have you been prepared before,” asked the teacher. “A year ago,” answered Ali. “You should go home, I have no beginner group for that time being. “I have to prepare, I will pay for it and if I can't achieve my goal it will be my failure,” said Ali. “It is your decision,” said the teacher. During the lesson, Ali showed very good results and achieved a 94% result of 105 questions on the new system. He was second in the group. The teacher was surprised at him. The 2nd time the exam day time is coming, this time Ali prepared for to exam strictly. But he scored a bad result, it was 77%. Happily, testing from 105 questions made it hard to score good results. He is the student. He achieved this after lots of hard work.
An emotional holiday commercial from Chevrolet is hitting home with many Americans and could very well become one of those ads we'll never forget. The automaker's more than five-minute ad, called "A Holiday to Remember," opens with a family gathering. A man and his daughter are talking about the declining well-being of his wife, who has early-stage Alzheimer's. "There's some days she doesn't even recognize me," he says, answering his daughter's question about whether her mom has more bad days than good. A young woman, presumably the older couple's granddaughter, overhears the conversation and makes a decision. "Let's make today a good day," she tells her grandmother – who sits with a vacant look – before carefully leading her to a blue 1972 Chevrolet Suburban in the garage. As John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders" plays, the young woman drives her grandmother through town, reminding her of pivotal places in her life, like her childhood home, her high school, and a drive-in theater that triggers a memory. It was there the now elderly woman's husband first kissed his wife-to-be, the granddaughter says. Her grandmother then corrects her: "No, I kissed him. He was far too shy." She then tells her teary-eyed granddaughter: "Bill! I need to see Bill." The pair return to the family home, where the longtime couple hold each other and kiss with tears streaming down their faces. He has her, for a moment. The ad was created with help from the Alzheimer's Association because most importantly, the commercial showcases what people living with Alzheimer's and their families go through, especially around the holidays. An estimated 6.7 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's in 2023, according to the association. Internet users are opening up about how the ad is making them feel. YouTube user @kathiowen observed that "the best marketing tells a story." "Thank you Chevrolet for the tears of joy," she said. USA Today's story by Emilee Coblentz: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2023/11/29/chevrolet-holiday-commercial-alzheimers/71743866007/ The video is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnZGEUA4oBk
It was a damp cold inside the abandoned church, as I sat in the rotting pews. Staring at the beautifully broken stained glass windows, a depiction of a westernized God glaring down directly at me, his eyes burning so hot, it could have lit the cigarette in my hand. My eyes dart to my hand, almost certain the little, white cylinder has caught flame. It hasn't, of course, and so begins the search for my lighter in one of my many pockets. The search is over and the cigarette is lit. I watch the plumes of smoke drift into the ceiling beams that are barely holding up the weight of the church anymore. The roof caves in, on the brink of collapse and the floorboards have been ripped apart, now used as firewood inside someone's house on cold winter nights. I play with my lighter and the glow sets eerie shadows across the walls, the warm, orange light making the cold cower in the corners of the crumbling building. I stare at the lighter, thinking; what a beautiful ending it would be to go up in flames, engulfed in the heat of fire and the comforting warmth of slow burning. My dead body would be a new addition to the deceased building, adding onto the pile of history that seeps into the dark, oak floors. A mess of flesh and flame, rotting wood and the footprints of sinners and saints. I light cigarette number two, throwing the first butt to the floor, where it lay in its own ashes. I don't bother to stomp it out despite the small flame I can see catching on a splintered piece of the floor. I can feel the flame grow beside my foot as I hold eye contact with the stained glass God yet again calmly inhale my smoke. The fire snakes along the floor, creeping its way into the pews and slowly up the supporting beams. I can feel it enveloping me, the heat growing almost unbearable. The hair on my arms singes and my body starts to sweat. I can taste the salt on my cigarette, can feel it dripping down my neck, my back, my legs. The church's structure begins to fall from the sky, as if God himself is spitefully throwing flaming spears towards me. The already caved in roof crashes down and the flames rise higher, leaving behind a heap of burning wood and bodies.
Sasi Krishnasamy - history Sasi Krishnasamy was born on January 22, 1984, in the village of Palani, Dindigul district. His parents were Mr. Krishnasamy and Mrs. Nageshwari. When he was five years old, his family moved to Coimbatore city, where he completed his schooling and higher education. After finishing his studies, he worked for a private company and then joined the jewelry industry in 201112. He married Mrs. Gokila Sasikrishna in September 2009 and had two children, Sowmiya Sasikrishna and Gowtham Sasikrishna. Sasi Krishnasamy had a keen interest in spirituality, yoga, and meditation since his childhood. He learned from various masters and scriptures and developed his own insights and teachings on mindfulness and self-awareness. He also had a passion for social service and helping the needy and the oppressed. In 2020, he founded the Ayngaran Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Palani, with the vision of spreading spiritual wisdom and uplifting humanity. The foundation offers various programs and activities such as meditation camps, yoga classes, motivational talks, free education, health care, environmental protection, and animal welfare. Sasi Krishnasamy has a large following of devotees and admirers who seek his guidance and blessings. He has also written several books and articles on spirituality and social issues. He has a YouTube channel where he uploads his videos and podcasts. He is also active on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Biopage, AllAuthor, GoodReads, BookBub, and BookLife. Sasi Krishnasamy is regarded as one of the most influential spiritual leaders and social activists in India. He is known for his simplicity, humility, compassion, and charisma. He is often invited to speak at various national and international events and forums. He has received many awards and honors for his contributions to society.
It is an odd feeling being fifty. Wrinkles are settled in now, and my body feels more flimsy by the day. An elaborate continuum of forgotten memories hangs by a thread. As time passes, my thirst for spontaneity dissipates. My brain is resistant like dusty cogwheels waiting for a spark. Looking around, many strangers I used to know now rest six feet under with an identical bouquet of flowers adorning an $11,000 gravestone. Some of their bodies were taken by the wind, drowned in the deep blue sea, or kept in generational attics. Looking back, I lost many jobs in my late 20s, but thankfully I had a second chance to restart my life. Today is my 50th birthday. A day I never knew would come so soon. Occasionally, I wonder how differently my life would have played out or ponder on old friends. Even at this instant, I can taste the bittersweet memories of nostalgia in my lukewarm cappuccino. Reaching into my pocket, I felt a terrible shock enter my body. Like a pinch too sudden and too painful to even breathe. Slowly I pulled out my hand with purple bruises and a pack of sewing needles. A series of flashbacks entered my mind. My mother had sowed, and her mother sewed, and before her, my great-grandmother sewed, and her mother before that. Funny how bits of my past somehow sneak into my present and future. The pain took me back to when I was a little girl sewing patches of all textures and colors onto my corduroy pants. Clothing was scarce then, and most of my blankets were quilted. Sowing became a part of me and followed me through adolescenthood when I joined the Craft Club at my school. During the second meet-up, I noticed a girl named Lila, with hazelnut eyes and brown hair, in the back of the classroom with a croquet kit on her desk. After introducing myself to her, we became instant friends with the everlasting promise of world domination. Our friendship ended abruptly when she told me she was going to study in Europe. I lost contact with her and thought about her occasionally over the years. Even now, her mystery plagues my mind in times of solitude and reflection. Today is my Birthday. My kids and grandchildren are waiting for me to come home and celebrate a year more. This morning has been my secret escape into the past, but now I must return to the present and finish my cold cappuccino. I reach the table next to me and grab a few napkins to place my needles in. It is an odd feeling being 50, but now I feel comfortable in my flimsy skin. My life has played out the exact way it should have, and now I must keep telling my tale so that my daughter and her daughter, and her daughter will tell it too.
My grandma has always been the glue that has stitched our family together. She is that tall tree whose roots are so sturdy they cannot be cut down. She is the reason we want to visit home during the holiday season. She is a reminder that though we no longer have our parents, God had purposefully placed her in our lives for such a time as this. It could be her contagious laughter that changes any atmosphere or her mischievous gaze that lets you know she has been around the world for some time. Her hugs let you know that she is in love with you, and her cooking, though not the best conveys a sense of home. My relationship with Grandma was rocky for a long time. We could not see eye to eye on certain things. I blame it on our similar traits of hot temper and stubbornness. After my grandfather passed away when I graduated high school and turned nineteen, things took an even darker turn. He had left a business with no will, and per tradition, the oldest of the siblings inherited the responsibility. My mother, at the time, could not care less, so the weight fell on my shoulders. The business was in so much debt, which made it difficult to revive for an inexperienced high school graduate. After several attempts to save the business, it continued to drown in debt. I had borrowed some money from several people with a promise of reasonable interest, but I could not pay it back. Needless to say, we had to close the business. The people I owed money to were banging down our throats, leaving my grandmother in shame and embarrassment. A few months after the business had closed, my grandmother and I had a talk in which she requested that I leave home and stay with my mother for a while. I took this demand to heart as a form of abandonment and rejection. I obliged her wish, but I could not erase the brokenness and disappointment in her gaze. Our relationship was bad, but it had taken a crack for the worst. It was difficult to forgive myself. Years had passed, and I had not set foot at home, even for the holidays. I found a job and proceeded to pay off my outstanding debt. I did not dare to return home and face her. The wound of not being able to forgive had caused a deep rift between my family and me. I lived in isolation, away from them, as a way of self-punishment. I would later lose my mom to AIDS, but even that would not repair our relationship. It had been years since my mom's passing, and my siblings and I kept in touch. I would ask about her well-being but end there. One random day, I received a call from Go-go (translation: grandma). She proceeded with the greetings, and I replied with a sceptical tone, "I'm okay." I can't describe to you how surprised I was by our next conversation. “Sneh, why have you not home?” I thought to myself, has old age taken her memory hostage? “Are you still angry with me?” Nope, she still remembers. “Don't you know how much we have missed you at home?” The shock had silenced my tongue. She continued to express her concern for me and her desire to see me before she dies. Bear in mind, this was just the old people's way of quilting you, not a declaration of a terminal illness. While she talked, a stream of tears came pouring down my cheeks. I felt a lump that had suffocated me for years releasing. It was the first time I let go of the guilt I carried for so many years. I realized that I had imprisoned myself in this self-imposed cell, and only I had access to this key. You know that infamous saying that being unforgiving is like someone taking poison and hoping someone should die. I had been poisoning my soul with bitterness and hatred. My grandma opened the door to healing. I decided that the next step would be to return home. Little did I know, that a lockdown would be implemented. Because of the pandemic, I realized that the anger I carried would amount to nothing. All of a sudden, the senile remark about her dying could become true. During the months of lockdown,I fell into a deep state of depression. By grace, the lockdown restrictions had been eased, and I returned to work. After many months, my finances settled, and in August 2022, I went back home. When I arrived, there she was, my old lady, seated outside her muddy kitchen hut. Her body was frail and wrinkled but still beautiful. Her left eye was near blindness. “Who are you?” I blamed her eyes that had given up on her sight. “Again, she asked, "Who are you?" I replied, "Go-go, it is me, Sneh." She could not contain her joy and hastily cupped me in her arms, joking about my weight gain as if we were old, lost friends. It was foolish of me to think that love, coupled with wisdom, could not forgive a multitude of mistakes. After a couple of days at home and we became friends. She would, like all seniors, question my marital status and my capacity to conceive great-grandchildren. I still wonder if I deserve her, but I believe God had placed her in my life intentionally for such a time as this.
My first memory of COVID was late at night in December of 2019. I saw it on the news, looking at my phone in a pitch black room – a room in the apartment my family had just moved into. An apartment that was small, 11 stories high, and about 7,000 miles away from where I used to call home. When I was ten, my parents shifted the entirety of my life by moving us to Kyoto, Japan. What made me remember this moment - looking at my phone at the news in the midst of unpacking and struggling to live in this completely new culture - is that I told people. I told others about COVID and everyone shrugged it off; as did I, not realizing it would change the trajectory of our lives – everyone's life. A few months later: It's February, 2020. Light was streaming in through the thin brown curtains of my open-windowed classroom at school, all 20 students sleeping on chairs or squishing onto the one stained couch at the back of the room, all looking for a cushioned seat to sink into. Three teachers were jammed in the room. First they said we would be wearing masks. I didn't think anything of it, as did everyone else. The following week, my teacher, standing in the shadows of the light bleached room, said we would all be going into online classes. Everyone was silent. No one understood. Throughout the next three years the borders in Japan stayed closed. Traveling back home over the summer required 5 hours of paperwork after 20 hours of flying, plus quarantine. Only at the start of this year did the Japanese government finally release their grasp on the Mask Mandate. Even today about 85% of people still wear masks; it's like a regularity now, a parasite that people have learned to live with and don't know how to live without. I was in online school for over nine months in total, and staying home wasn't the worst part - it was being told I was going to be able to go to school in person, and then a few weeks after actually being able to see people, we would have to go back into online school. March 2021: The waves licked at my feet in beautiful Okinawa Japan in the late afternoon during spring break. We had been at in-person school for five months when I got the email –- we would be going into online classes for two weeks. That turned into over two months. In the US people sat outside their houses on lawn chairs, talking to their neighbors through their windows. Japan doesn't have front lawns, or back ones. They have windows that are only opened when clothes need to be baked in the sun because dryers take too much space in the house. I talked to almost no one for a year, and, having just moved to a polar opposite country to the one I had been previously living in, I felt trapped in a cage labeled “overwhelmed.” For the first couple months where we lived free of COVID in Japan, there were many foreigners visiting. Where we lived, we weren't surrounded by only Japanese, but also those from the west who somewhat made it feel like home. Then, the borders closed, and the land was quiet. My world felt silent for two years. As I was able to begin riding the train again each morning, not trapped in my home, I realized how being foreign and living in Japan was not pleasing to some. The stares. People crossing to the other side of the street when you are near. Moving to a different bus seat when you get too close. Though every country experiences these problems, living in a closed-off Japan, trapped from the rest of the world - trapped me too. But then I met a girl online, and she filled my life with light. And soon I met another, who lived close by and came over to my house often. Though there were days I felt alone, I knew that I had wonderful people around me - and I will never forget the hilarious Zoom calls with my friends from school… I miss them. I moved back to the US in June, and not wearing a mask felt odd, but freeing. I now live in Texas, and I see that everyone talks to everyone. They are kind – they say excuse me if they are in your way, and they smile at you more often than not. Being in Japan, not talking to many people for so long due to language barriers and the extensive shut down COVID inflicted on the country made me realize how deficient I was in the complex action that was being social. Despite all of this, Japan was a blessing, and COVID wasn't a curse. It was painful; but it also made me stronger. I understood the meaning of looking out for myself, and to simply enjoy life as it was. Sitting at home and typing at my laptop for a whole summer resulted in an entire book that has infusions of my life in it, something I never would have done if COVID didn't occur and I didn't have the time. COVID resulted in me learning about myself, even if it was a struggle to realize that. Those four and a half years were worth it, even through the hard times, and experiencing the entirety of COVID in Japan, though difficult, allowed me to see the goodness in a newfangled place halfway across the world.
I only remember that dark, windy night. The accident. I was having a dreadful headache. I hit the wrong pedal, I accelerated. From there on, I can't remember anything, just me waking up in an ambulance. I couldn't hear anything, just my own breath hyperventilating. Immediately, I arrived at the hospital and the nurses took me to a private room to be checked. It was bizarre that they checked me constantly, which led me to believe I was very injured. I was trying to sleep when I heard a doctor entering the room. When I opened my eyes, I saw a tall man with a white coat. He said that I needed to be transferred to another hospital where I could be monitored by specialized equipment. They took me to a black van where I couldn't see anything through the windows. They started talking. I couldn't hear any words from the stress I was experiencing. Abruptly, I started feeling very dizzy. —Do you know where you are?— That was the first thing I heard after waking up. I was sitting in a chair looking at the wall, zoned out. I just got transferred or at least that was what they told me. Apparently, there was an accident; I can't remember anything. —Pass patient 16 to a room, he is not answering— No, no, no. What room? Get me out of here. I got to the room. I want to get out of this place, yet I don't even remember my name. I just want to get out. —Get me out of here— I repeated to myself while the people in white coats were connecting stuff to my body. I don't want this, make it stop! —Get me out of here— I yelled, but apparently, no one heard me. —Get me out of here— I cried out for help, again no one heard. I was trembling. I couldn't feel my body, which to be honest, I didn't even recognize as mine anymore. My heartbeat quickened. Tick tock I heard a clock. —Get me out of here!— Tick tock. —Get me out— Tick tock. —Get me— Abruptly, everything went dark. Silence. I wasn't dead, I couldn't be. —Patient 16– then everything was bright again. —You blacked out— said the man in a white coat. Then everything went back to normal, if normal is the word to define this whole situation. The past days, the doctor said I've made improvement both physically and mentally. I don't know how I made progress if I never felt off. However, I do experience nightmares, and I don't like the looks I am getting from the people in white coats. They seem as if they are hiding something. The doctor said fresh air would be good for me and that I needed to go for a walk. I don't like going for walks, it scares me. The voices in the halls scare me; nevertheless, I'll go later. I don't know where I could end up. I evaded the halls; I couldn't help myself. They're too scary, so I made my way through the garden. I ended up in a forest with yellowish-leaves. I lost track of time. There were stones on the ground with names of people, also there was a big hole that looked as if it was going to be filled up soon. I panicked; I don't like to panic because of the voices, the voices that come from nowhere. They talked about death. I refuse to think I'm going insane because if there is one thing I am is sane. Rain poured down, it felt like acid. As the rain showered on my shoulders, I ran. ——— My phone rang; I picked it up wondering what could've happened so late at night. —Dr. Collins here— I answered. —Yeah Collins, I've got a patient here; he's outside. He's at the yard, you know, the yard— he emphasized, it was obvious he was at the graveyard, but why? —Also this patient doesn't match any of the files I have here, Is he a…— —Patient of mine?— I interrupted, anyone could be hearing. —Yes, yes he is. I'm on my way— then I hung up. Before I left I checked on our latest operating procedures on our “volunteers”; most of them were still in progress. I went quickly to the main lobby. Once the door opened, the cold wind of late autumn night flew through my coat, down the hall Dr. Bailey spotted me. —Collins!— she called my attention. —Bailey— I responded. —Our procedure with 66 was a succes, yet there is a patient outside, patient 16– she stated. It couldn't be 16 he was… —I'll hurry, thank you— I interrupted my thoughts and arrived at the CCTV room. —Stephan?— —Hello sir, you see the patient, he's been staring at that stone for at least ten minutes— I then saw him turn around. When he saw the camera, he ran into the woods. I had to go. —Sir, there's a gate, after our last escape we reinforced it— I left without answering. ——— I felt scared, the eye on the wall, it looked at me. I ran into the woods. The voices kept screaming, sounds of pain. Someone screamed. I felt whimpering, the voices were no longer there, no more screams. There was a thunderstorm. A shower of lighting hit the ground. As the last strike hit, so did my body, and everything went cold.
LaBlanche, an intrepid detective with an eagle eye for detail, returned home late one night. She had been out on a case all day, and all she could think about was pouring herself a glass of wine, and curling up with a good book. But as she opened the door, something felt off. The house was too quiet, too still. LaBlanche had been in many dangerous situations in her life, but she had never been quite so scared as she was in that moment. She crept through the house, slowly making her way to the study, where she knew her husband was meant to be. To her shock, she found him lying on the floor, motionless. For a moment, LaBlanche couldn't move. Her mind raced, trying to make sense of what was happening. He had been murdered, she realized. With a trembling hand, she reached for the phone and dialed the police. When the officers arrived, they brought LaBlanche in for questioning. She gave her statement, but despite her best efforts, she could not provide them with any leads. For hours, the detectives interrogated her, trying to discover any hidden clues that would lead them to the killer. But LaBlanche had nothing to give them, and eventually they let her go with a warning. She stepped out of the police station with a sense of determination. She would not rest until the killer was caught and brought to justice. She knew that she had to act fast, as time was running out. She had to find out who had done this, before they struck again. LaBlanche set out to investigate the murder on her own. She retraced her steps, thinking of all the people her husband had met in the days leading up to his death. She visited his work, talked to his colleagues and friends, and went through his emails and messages. But she could not find any clues that would lead her to the killer. One night, as LaBlanche lay in bed, she heard a strange noise coming from the study. She got up and crept towards the room, her heart pounding in her chest. As she got closer, she could hear footsteps coming from inside. With trembling hands, she pushed the door open and stepped inside. To her surprise, she found a man standing there, rifling through her husband's desk. He looked up as she walked in, his eyes widening in surprise. LaBlanche recognized him as one of her husband's colleagues, a man who had always seemed a bit too interested in their personal lives. "What are you doing here?" she demanded. The man hesitated, then stammered, "I was just looking for some papers that I left here earlier." LaBlanche knew he was lying. She took a step closer, her eyes fixed on his face. Suddenly, she saw a flicker of fear in his eyes. She knew then that he had murdered her husband. She just had to gather enough evidence to prove it.LaBlanche's mind raced with a million thoughts all at once. She had to keep the man at bay while she searched the room for any evidence that would confirm her suspicions. She took a step closer to him, her gaze still fixed on his face. "What do you mean you left some papers here earlier?" she asked him. "And why are you so afraid?" "I...I left some important documents here earlier," he said, his voice shaking. "I needed to come back and get them." LaBlanche didn't believe him. She knew he was lying. She continued to edge closer to him, looking for any sign of a struggle. And then she saw it - a small cut on the man's hand, barely visible in the dim light. "What happened to your hand?" she asked him.The man tried to hide his hand behind his back, but it was too late. LaBlanche had seen it. She took another step closer, and this time, the man stepped back. "I...I cut it on a broken glass earlier," he stammered. "It's nothing." LaBlanche didn't believe him. She knew that the cut on his hand was a sign of a struggle, that he had fought with her husband before killing him. "Show me your hand," she demanded, taking another step forward. The man hesitated, then slowly held out his hand. LaBlanche saw that the cut was deep, and still bleeding. She knew that she had found her evidence. "You killed him, didn't you?" she said, her voice low and menacing. The man looked at her, his face pale with fear. "I...I didn't mean to," he said.LaBlanche knew that this was just an excuse. She could see the guilt in the man's eyes and knew that he was lying once again. She had to make him confess. (CONTINUATION IN NEXT POST)
CORNERSTONE Years on, he graduated the best and began working at a reputable hospital as Head of General Doctors. Unknown to me, I was admitted into the same hospital he worked. “Ma'am, I'm sorry but you will have to stay till you are okay to leave,” the nurse said to me, diagnosed of Diabetes. “I am the mother of the worst kid on Earth. I am so unfortunate,” these I said soliloquizing. My son who walked at 3 and spoke at 5, made me realized fate had something wonderful in store for me. “I'm damn tired of this whole situation. I am filing a divorce against you,” these my husband said in fury. I had to take up a job as a cleaner to fend myself and my son. My son's dream was to study in one of the prestigious school in the world, ranked high in medicine. He once told his friends but they laughed him to scorn. They had the belief only the wealthiest gets in. “Mom, my friends said I can never get admitted into my dream school,” he cried home from school one day. I encouraged him to get off their myopic views of success and aim for the top. The more his friends and many other persons discouraged him, the more I encouraged but when I do the opposite, there was none to encourage. This was hard for him as I was his strength and at same time, weakness. I considered my financial capacity and the bad though of accepting a loan. A year later, his gap year took off. Unknown to me, he had been ruminating on what to do as the next phase of his life unfolded. He couldn't afford not resuming the college he was going to commit to the next year's fall. “You can't get into Harvard. It is very expensive. It has a very low acceptance rate. There are no college upfront costs programs to aid your application.” These statements made by his friends got him encouraged instead of the opposite. He began researching free programs, discovered the best fit for him, applied and was luckily selected. “Honey, where are you packing your luggage to?” I asked in surprise. “I'm leaving to my friend's place,” he replied. “What will you get yourself doing? Who is this friend? Where exactly does he lives?” I asked thousands of questions he had to answer. “Mom! Mom! Mom! I want to go hustle and make my living on this terrestrial ball an impactful one,” he replied. “Don't weep as I won't change my mind,” he commanded on seeing my teary eyeballs. After his departure, I busted out in tears that could fill a 50 liters bucket. He worked hard, applied. It was enigmatic for him to believe he got accepted into his dream school on full ride scholarship. Then I realized the saying “Diligence with resilience is really the gateway into success” and “Luck is not by chance but preparations meeting opportunities.” There was this practice in the hospital where the H.G.D. as referred to, visits all patients through a particular week in a month. I was lucky to be admitted during this period. On the third day of that week, it was my ward's turn. He came in, asked how I was feeling. I had a second look at him and discovered the tall handsome doctor was Brian. “Dr. Brian Rowland Adrian” I called out his name, in bewilderment. He was surprised to have a patient know his full name. I introduced myself and busted out in tears immediately. “Mum, is this you?” he replied in shock. We hugged for so long and shed tears of joy. He was happy to behold his father's bride after nine years of separation. Coincidentally, there was a male patient who was diagnosed of high blood pressure. As usual, he went in to ask the man's wellbeing. “This patient's face is familiar” he said to himself. “Sir, have we met before?” he asked. “I don't know you,” he replied. He could recognize the old patient's face as his father's but the patient couldn't. “Are you not Mr. Rowland Brown, the father of one Brian Rowland Adrian?” “Yes, I am but who are you? I don't know you before. How did you know the full name of my son? Have you been monitoring my family since I married?” he replied questioning. “I'm the son you left to die. The main reason you divorced my mum”, Brian replied. Immediately, tears flowed down his cheeks as he couldn't stand the shame of being treated by the same person he left untreated. “My son, please forgive me ,” he pleaded agonizingly. Brian left in anger and came show me to Rowland. “Dad, meet mum you left to suffer. I'm the product of only her pain and suffering,” Brian said in tears and rage. He promised not to forgive him. I had to intervene by begging Brian's forgiveness which took weeks for him to consent. A few days later, we both got discharged. Brian moved us to the house he had built. While having a reconciliation dinner together, I tapped Rowland and said, “Indeed, the stone the builders rejected is now the cornerstone,” rotating my eyeballs and neck round the whole beautiful paradise.
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