I wake up with a start.
I squint at the darkness around me and try to look for a company. But, I notice that I am all alone.
Has my family abandoned me?
Or, perhaps, is it destiny that I have to take this journey all alone?
My questions go unanswered. The enveloping blackness smirks at me. I want to cry out loud, but, feel too parched to even shed tears. I crave water. But, the environment seems equally dry and haunting.
I don’t know how long I have to endure all of it.
Endure hardships that may come your way. Persevere with faith. Your efforts would bear fruits soon, little one. That’s our way of life, indeed.
My mother’s words echo through that dark space.
But, I feel wilted already. I gasp for breath and try to suck in some air. I feel a little alive for a moment. My instinct motivates me to fight and survive.
You can. You will.
I can almost hear my insides murmuring words of encouragement.
Suddenly, I hear a hoarse voice to my left breaking my train of thoughts.
“Hola brother, how you been doing?”
I peer at him. “Ummm…trying to…live?” I reply.
“Hmmm…appreciate that. You’re always a fighter,” I hear my new companion remark.
“Yes. Let me make a little detour and come back,” says my strange friend and wriggles upward through the garden soil. A moment later, he crawls back to my side. The soil turns a little moist. I feel rejuvenated with another gulp of fresh air.
“Hey, I think I know you…my mother…you’re Mr Earthworm!” I exclaim with my newfound energy.
“Right. And, hope you know who you are. Buried deep inside the ground, you’re life itself, brother.”
“Life…” I mutter to myself and let his words sink in.
Radicle. Sprout. Shoot.
Random words pop up within me. Realization strikes.
“Yes, I’m a seed. I bear a life inside me,” I confess and beam at my friend.
“Right. You endure. You persevere. You are known for your determination, brother. Even if you take a long time to show up, you do and that’s all that matters. Slow and steady wins the race, you know,” my wise slimy friend expounds.
“Like the tortoise in the famous fable,” I conclude.
Mr Earthworm nods with an all-knowing smile.
I feel energized. I try to absorb the tiny ounces of soil moisture. I take in the sunlight that peeps through the pores around me. I take a deep breath and swallow the oxygen I need.
I look inward and concentrate.
I can do it.
A few weeks later:
A teeny-weeny sprout pushes out of me and blinks at the darkness. As I wait for my germination to complete its course, the sprout shoots up, breaks the soil, and peeks into the sky above.
A sense of accomplishment fills me with pure joy as I breathe in fresh air and look up at the vast blue sky.
I have made it.
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