I was rummaging through the drawers of my closet looking for that picture frame, that picture I so dearly admired of my father, but to no avail. I sat disappointed in vain, with tears strolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t find it! I was depressed, sad and very angry with the situation I had landed into with the twist of fate.

I am Andy, a famous singer and rapper in the States. On the outside, my life looks picture perfect, but like everyone else I have had my fair share of unfortunate events. First, I lost my mother at the age of four due to cancer, and now I have lost my father as well at the ripe age of twenty. Where families go on trips together and enjoy life with their teenage kids, I have lost my parents. He was my only supporting anchor after the loss of my mother, but now he is gone as well. It feels like my life is slipping off my hands. I have been on a break for two months now. Life seems to have come to a stop. I have not stepped out of my house even once. People talk about me, my loss, about how unfortunate I am. There is news about me everywhere and I do not want to face a single soul. My doorbell has rung for the twentieth time today, but I won’t get up. I won’t open the doors. I know it’s Stacy, my childhood best friend, but I don’t want to talk to a single soul. I closed my eyes in despair, losing myself back, to all those beautiful memories with my father. Running along the beach with nothing but my swimming trunks on, shouting at the top of my lungs and having fun. Enjoying the cool sea breeze hitting on my face. It’s a Sunday those few days when I get to meet him and take a break from that boarding school. He is my comfort place. His hearty laugh continues to ring in my ears. Another ring; I instantly opened my eyes and came hitting the brutal reality of my being. What a loss!

I slowly got up, walked towards my door and flung it open. I shouted frustrated, ‘What is it, Stacy! Can you not see I am ignoring the doorbells?’ Then, suddenly a smack landed across my head! It was Stacy, she smacked me so hard my head hurts now. I looked at her in shock while she had tears brimming down her eyes. She exclaimed, ‘What is wrong with you! Why wouldn’t you open the door!’ She tried to get in, but I denied her entry I couldn’t face her right now. I felt like a loser, staying cooped up in my apartment unable to face the brutal reality of life. She nodded her head, scanned my face and sighed she said,’ Andy take a break, go out go to your favourite places and have a calming walk. Connect with nature. Stop being cooped up in this apartment of yours. You are not taking yourself anywhere your life will slip out of your hands at this rate.’ She then quickly swiped the remaining tears from her eyes and then started rummaging through her bag. She then popped out a black mask, a black cap along with a black jacket from her ever-so-glorious backpack. Shocked I asked her, ‘Whose murder do you expect me to commit?’ She just rolled her eyes and told me that it was so that I could conceal my identity and move around the city without gaining attention. I suggested,’ I would look like a stalker with that all-black look’, to which she just landed me a stern look and directed me to wear it with a nod of her head. I complied. Once I was all ready she told me to make sure I got out of the house and take some fresh air, giving me a mint she turned on her heels and walked out of my place. Exactly! What I needed to begin stepping out of the house; was some courage. After collecting my wallet and wearing my shoes I walked out of that apartment. I looked up in the sky, it was cloudy and pleasant opposite to the mood I had. Thinking to myself how sad my life is I dragged myself through the pavements of the city. After around half an hour of aimless walking, I entered a sketchy area. Things seem in a bad condition there. When I further galavanted inside, I realized I was in a poor neighbourhood. It looked like it was in ruins, the sheds were falling off, the houses were ill-kept and none of the houses had any boundary walls. I looked in the direction of one house there was one boy outside with a dog he was playing with a puppy. I stopped in my tracks and continued looking at him; I don’t know what got into me, but I started walking towards him and knocked on that barely hanging door to make them aware of my presence. The boy looked up with his puppy also doing so in the process. After scanning my entire body the boy announced in a deep voice,’ You don’t seem like you belong to this neighbourhood, why are you here?’

I didn’t answer him, instead, I questioned him if I could sit beside him, he paused lost in thought for a few seconds but then nodded his head. He then continued to pet the puppy. After a few minutes or so, he looked at me and said,’ You seem upset.’ I nodded then, after a pause, the words began to flow out of me. I told him how I had lost my father and how much I cherished him. How I felt worthless and lonely. The boy nodded turning all his attention towards me, whispering he said,’ I understand.’ Anger shot through me, and in a clipped tone I asked, ‘What makes you think you understand me? I don’t think you have gone through what I have.’I was ignorant. He very calmly looked at me, then with a tilt of his head with his messy hair falling on his forehead he said, ‘While I may not have gone through what you exactly went through, however, I understand the feeling of loss and losing your loved one.’ He took a deep breath and then continued,’ I lost both my parents in an accident and my uncle took all my property that didn’t upset me or deter me, but then he severed all ties with me and didn’t let me enter my house or collect my belongings. For quite a while, I fought for my rights in court, but it was all in vain. My uncle was too powerful and I lost the case. I came to terms with the reality and moved to this neighbourhood.’ He explained how he feels the loss of his parents, the loss of his previous life and it hurts till now, but he has moved on with his life. I looked at him deep in thought, realizing I am not the only one who faces loss in this world, a reality that I always knew. However, it never hit me as deeply as it did today. He looked up in the sky and said what a beautiful day it is today; I simply agreed with the shake of my head. Then he looked me in the eyes and said,’ You didn’t answer my previous question.’ I swallowed saying,’ I was just wandering around and ended up here.’ He nodded again. Suddenly I felt something sniffing my hand when I looked towards my hands I realized it was the puppy, a small smile came on my lips once in a long time and I just petted the little animal happy to be out of my misery for a while. The boy then remarked,’ You know what? You must be grateful for your life and not dwell in sadness.’ He said,’ You will forever feel the loss and the void but don’t stop with your life. Continue working and putting your mind elsewhere instead of closing yourself off from the world.Face the world.’ I looked at him suspiciously and asked.’Do you know me?’ He nodded and told me how I am a famous personality and everybody knows me, so it is obvious for him to know me. I nodded in approval. He then took a deep breath and sighed he stood up, dusted his pants and put his hand in his pockets.He then asked, ‘Do you want to come in for coffee?’ I was about to say no, but then I wanted to talk to him more and nodded my head in affirmation. We walked inside the house. Inside the house, there was a cosy place, very different and opposite to how it looked on the outside.Nonetheless, I comfortably sat on the chair near a table facing the boy’s kitchen and continued to look around until a thought came up in my brain.I asked the boy if he had any memories of his parents, and he shook his head and told me he lost it all his uncle was too cruel, he locked away his house and stopped his employment at Big firms did he let him retrieve any of his belongings although he begged for it. After a pause, he poured the coffee and brought it to me, sitting in front of me he told that he had stopped caring for his memories are far better and more intact. I nodded understanding, I had a faint flicker of sympathy in my heart but assumed that he wouldn’t want any just like I didn’t. I then asked him how he survives in such a slum considering his background.He then explained how he had to live by doing menial jobs and living a little better off than the rest of the neighbourhood with some extra income. We conversed about many other things, our lives and experiences.After a few hours, I looked outside and commented that it had begun to get dark. He nodded and told me I should get out of the slum early as it gets dangerous at night. Instantly, I stood up with my hands in my pocket and shook hands with him. Just before I was about to get out of his house, I turned and said you didn’t tell me your name he shook his head smiling and said if we meet ever again I would tell you then, I looked at him, nodded and walked out of the place. While walking back to my apartment with my hands in my pocket I looked up in the sky with a smile playing on my lips for suddenly I was grateful about life. Not because I was better off than others but because I suddenly realized the importance of letting go and being grateful for what I have. Slowly I felt the weight of things falling off my chest and felt lighter. That night I had a sound sleep. The next day, I sent my thanks to Stacy for her suggestion and apologized for my behaviour toward her. In subsequent days I started visiting the boy often, now I know his name, it’s Steve and within no time he has become a nice friend to me. Yesterday, I offered him a job as my manager and he has very happily accepted the offer. He will now continue to live with me. Nowadays, I feel better, happier and lighter with the change of perspective and environment my heart feels lighter. I look at the sky more and smile more. I pray for my parents each night and aim to work more hard in my life for I must not lose this life. Our life is the most precious thing gifted to us by god and we mustn’t waste it by being ungrateful instead, when problems and failures hit in life know you should stand up again and fight back for fighting back is more important than anything. Do not let life direct you; you direct your life.