Drenched in Self-Love

Drenched in Self-Love

I never loved myself, not even a little. To put it plain and simple, I rather despised myself. Destiny played a cruel joke with me; I was born with a harelip. Friends always mocked me, while strangers stared at me in disdain.

Far from the callous crowd, I had sought solace at a nearby pond, although a little far from home, nestled in the greens. Every day, I strode past the busy lanes, past the turbulent traffic, and past the huddle of hollering hawkers to reach this paradise. There at the bank of the pond, I sat and hurled pebbles while the trees rustled in the breeze and the birds twittered on the branches.

One late autumn day, I walked frantically to the pond with a bruised face. Some folks had teased me, and it had led to a brawl. Had it not been for some passersby, the brawl could have snowballed into a fatal fight. Drowned in a daze, I sat on the edge of the pond and started flinging the pebbles, big and small. The pebbles plunked into the water giving rise to ripples of rage, rings of fire. For a moment, I felt like jumping into the deep pond and ending my life forever but soon the rage tempered into a smoldering fire. The pebbles fell now softly with a plop. I looked across and saw a few kids playing hide and seek. They were jostling and shoving each other in merriment, while red, yellow, and purple leaves crunched beneath their feet. I turned my face to the left and saw a few men and women busy in their babble. 

Plop plop plop and then a loud splash… The wailing of the kids caught me unawares and yanked me to my senses, and I soon discovered that a kid had tripped over the leaves and fell into the pond. The men and the women were flailing their arms in protest and frustration. There was no time to ponder over and, in a rush, I dived into the pond. The icy water froze my bones and my teeth clattered together. But I swam deeper and deeper into the pond to the other side. Swimming past the prickly weeds, past the school of carps, past the school of catfish, and past the specks of algae, I finally reached to the side where the child could have been drowned. Blurred with the layers of water, the child lay on the bottom of the pond. I bent over and hauled the child up and placed him on the edge of the pond. The child appeared unconscious. A man placed the heel of his hand on the center of the child´s chest and made a few chest compressions, and after a while, the child sprang up to life.

 I ambled back home, light-hearted. A hand ran over my lip, and it ceased to bother me. My safe-loathing got washed off in the pond and I started loving myself, at least a little.
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