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I was feeling sad and low, ‘blue’ as we youngsters might call it, as I gazed at my test papers and compared them to my report card. Almost half of my grades were marked in red and the ones that passed were only in between fifty to sixty marks. And I was the last in class.

I sighed and flung everything into my school bag. It had not happen yet but I could predict that my mother would give me a sound scolding and would compare me with my brother, who was student in the Multimedia University studying Engineering. I hated it when she compared us. I was the black sheep of the family and no one had high hopes for me, no matter how much I wished for it. I could never reach success like Eden, my mother always said, and that I was a very bad example to Vincent, my younger brother and Gabrielle, my younger sister.

The teacher, Mrs. Cooter, complained about how low my marks were and told me to stay back after school with the others who also failed their exams to receive detention. Throughout the long hours of detention, I could do nothing but sulk and the gloom that hung on my head could never go away. I could not open the revision books that Mrs. Cooter ordered us to because I knew it was useless and pointless for me to do so. I felt like a total loser that whole afternoon; so much that I just wanted to break down and cry. But, of course, that was impossible.

When I got home, as expected, my mother started nagging and comparing when she saw the results in my report book. Eden gave me that sarcastic, victorious look that made me feel so annoyed. Vincent and Gabrielle, my twin siblings, just stared at me blankly. I did not blame them. They were still too young to understand the meaning of ‘total loser’. I hung my head down throughout dinner and rushed to my room as soon as I finished the rice in my bowl.

That night, I could not sleep. I kept thinking about all the failures I had encountered in the past. I was not good at sports, I was not elected to be in any high posts in my class, I failed my tests and exams every semester for two years and a half in school and I was no friend to anyone. They probably did not know that I existed. I was so lousy in everything I did that I just wanted to die.

That was when it struck me. Why not? If I was so terrible in my life, why was I still alive? It would be better if I did not exist in this world. I will not have to see bad marks, I will not have to stay back for detention, I will not be compared again by my mother and I definitely will not have to see Eden’s stupid face. They would not know that I am gone. They would not even care! Why not? That was when I had made up my mind. I was going to commit suicide.

The next day, I dressed up in my pinafore as usual and had the school bag on my back as always. The only difference was I have a letter in my pocket and I did not intend to go to school. I took one last look at my room, the entire house and, last but not least, my family who was chit-chatting in the dining room and starting breakfast without me. I whispered a joyful goodbye before I closed the front door.

Everything I did was different in that particular morning. I had a heavy breakfast at the coffee shop, using up all my pocket money. I took the road opposite the road to school and I took the bus which was a less likely thing to do. I stopped at Yellow Brick Road and looked up from the thirty-storeyed high building of my father’s workplace. Although it belonged to my father and he still worked here after he divorced my mother, I did not care. I was just looking for a high spot.

When I got up to the thirtieth floor despite the warning of Johnson, the janitor, I saw someone standing there leaning against one of the edges. It was Abraham, one of my father’s colleagues that I admired for quite sometime. I decided to talk to for the last time until he leaves so that I could go on with my plan.

I went up and greeted him. He smiled and we started our conversation. He asked me how I was doing and enquired about my progress. I told him everything, except my plan to commit suicide. He told me he was also having problems and that his life was turning upside-down ever since my father was raised to a higher post.

“My father must be very good to achieve this,” I said, feeling a bit proud of my father.

“Yes, he is. He’s a good man with very high innovation, initiatives and creativity. He deserves it, not I,” Abraham had the same gloom I had. He looked suspiciously weird but I ignored it.

“Well, you can make it if you try,” I encouraged him. “If you give it a go, you might just be a manager yourself.”

“Too bad, I could not. I was fired.”

“Fired?” I was shocked. I could not say more.

“You are like your father, Clarice. You can also win if you try. I was too late.”

And with that he suddenly leapt off from the building. I was dumbfounded. He fell with a splat in front of my eyes down below and I could not do anything to stop him. I went weak all over and stayed there until the ambulance came and took him away.

I could not forget it until today. But I did follow his advice. I kept on going and I won.


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