The Boy Who Couldn’t Learn

It’s the day. A day of importance. A day, he will never forget. He washes his face. Looks himself in the eyes.

No pressure.

This is your day. Nothing can harm you today.

“Stop lying to me. We will not celebrate your birthday today.”

He has a big breakfast right before he greets his mother and leaves home. He is anxious but excited to see the squad. He wants to see the people who influence his image. He knows that today is the day he can take control of the status quo. He can write himself and present it to the world.

“I worry for you. You won’t ever be able to do anything for yourself”

Breakfast is enjoyable. Mother has cooked pancakes. He loves pancakes. She gives him a big hug and wishes him a happy birthday. He loves the affection but it’s not nearly as sweet as the affection he needs. He sits in a bundle of joy, thinking about the festivities lined up for the day. Birthdays really are a special occasion. Wouldn’t you agree?

“You are a failure”

He waits for the bus to stop. The field is already in sight. He feels an aura of uncertainty build up inside the bus. He’s overthinking. Sometimes it’s not as complicated as you think it is. The team gets off. They continue to find ways to amuse themselves. He tries to indulge, he tries to forget about the realities of failure. He succeeds, he finds himself in a great mood right before the game. He feels fit, he feels fresh and he feels as if nothing will stop him.

“I hate you. I wish you weren’t my son.”

His friends are here. He loves the attention. He loves the fact that today is just about him. Everyone loves him today. He feels as if he has an important place in the lives of these people. His very being is proof that he holds meaning. He is loved and he will always have people he can depend on. He feels a quivering sense of accomplishment and more importantly, acceptance. When will dad get here?

“You disappoint me”

A roar persists. Constantly pounding at him. He feels the pressure. He feels uneasy now. I want to go home. He feels defeated as the final whistle blows. His squad has let him down. None of the other players could perform at a level which was acceptable. The coach taps his back gently and tells him he did great. He looks over to the scoreboard on the other side of the field. It’s the only thing he can see. A reminder of his failure. He has to accept that he is not good enough to be doing this. He is wrong. He is the only one who is good enough. He deludes himself into believing that he will always fail because there is a lack of talent on his end. He couldn’t be farther from the truth. The only reason he confronts failure like a broken record player is because it sounds familiar. It sounds like home.

“You will always fail.”

His father enters the house. He looks at him with hope, all he gets is a dejected look from a man who has had enough. If only either one of them understood. He waits for a wish, a hug or maybe even a gift. All he gets is silence. A cold deflating quiet that sinks the room in a pit of lost hope which feels like a sword cutting through his chest. He leaves for his room and tries to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

His father enters the house. He looks at him with hope but what he gets is a dejected look from a man who should’ve realized that he’s had enough a long time ago. He tells him about the game and how he scored but couldn’t help his team win. His father tells him to quit playing if you cannot win. He disguises his criticism behind a voice aloof. He cannot see through it. He feels the tip and it kills him. As it has, for so many years.