One Wrong Move

She walked inside my room at two in the morning. I could tell she had been crying. She was wearing a shirt too big for her – her usual cleaning clothes. Her face was tired, not from cleaning, but from something more demanding, something more exhausting. She sat on my bed. I knew she was looking for sympathy; I knew she was looking for comfort. She was looking for love.

I grabbed her and wrapped my arms around her. She used to be so beautiful. She used to be so happy. She used to be so strong. I kissed her on the forehead and tightened my embrace. I held her face and looked at her as tears slowly fell from her eyes.

I smiled weakly. How could I cheer her up? How could I make her feel secured? How could I rescue her? How could a fifteen year-old boy reassure his heart-broken mother?


It all started when I was a baby. My father was a womanizer; his parents were the incarnate of in-laws from hell that I only see on soap operas. She found her strength in me. She found her confidant. She found her best friend. And that’s how it has always been, and I guess always will be.

As a kid, all I wanted was to make her happy. I wanted her to feel loved. But all I could do was to listen.

I didn’t realize how powerful that was.

Many nights when my father won’t come home or even answer calls, my mom and I will stay up and talk about our dreams. She dreams of a simple life. She wants to live in a small house with a small garden that she can tend to. She wants to live near a river so she can take leisurely walks along the riverbank. I was not so modest. I dream of seeing the world.

I guess, in a way, we both felt trapped. She wanted to escape to her paradise; I just wanted to escape anywhere.

On rare nights when my dad does come home, I would have to summon all the strength in my body to fall asleep and not hear the fighting. I will look out my window and wish for wings so I could fly far away from all the crying and the screaming. I felt so helpless.

Those were dark times – so dark that until now, I could not sleep in my old room without having nightmares. They were so dark that I wanted to give up. I didn’t see the rewards of fighting. I didn’t have the will to push harder. In simple terms, I was suicidal.

Every day, I see a lot of cheerful people at school. They seemed so carefree, they seemed so happy. How come I was so miserable? I saw people having fun all the time, but I was not like that. I wanted to rescue my mom, my family – but how? The pressure was too much. The burden was too big.

Then, I heard someone from school commit suicide. He was a student leader – just like me. He had a lot of pressure – just like me. It was too much for him – just like it was too much for me. I decided to see his funeral. I wanted to know what the road looked ahead for me. I was convinced that it was the right choice. I was convinced that it was the easy road.


I stood beside his coffin and spoke to him. I didn’t know who he was but I knew his pain. It was all too familiar. I went home desensitized. I was numb all over.

“Give up or fight like you’ve never fought before…”

I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday. I was lying in bed with his lifeless face booming in my mind. That was the moment when I had seriously considered ending it all. I was in a forked road and I felt that I had to make a choice. It was now or never.

“Give up or fight like you’ve never fought before…”

I was tired. I was tired emotionally and mentally. I wanted to give up. I didn’t have the energy to fight the good fight.

And then it hit me.

If I gave up – nobody would care. I wanted to give up because I wanted someone to hear my silent pleas for help. I wanted to give up because I wanted someone to come and finally rescue me. But that was not going to happen. Giving up meant it was the end. Giving up meant it was over. And the only one who stood to lose was me – no one else.

Fighting meant I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. What could I lose anyway? I had nothing.

It washed all over me like cold water. I didn’t want to end up like the guy who committed suicide. In the end, no one was there to rescue him. In the end, he lost and he had so much more time to win. Suddenly, I wanted to fight and I was going to fight to win. I was going to fight for my dreams. The world was cruel, yes. The solution was not to give up but to compensate.

If the world was too cruel, then I will just have to love myself a little bit more to balance everything.

I told myself these exact words as I trembled in excitement:

“I will be the best that I can be. I will love myself so I can depend on myself. I will fight. No more mister nice guy.”

I wish I said these words in a more poetic way. I wish I was more articulate with my word selection. But I wasn’t. Those were my exact words and those words represented how I truly felt down to the core of my heart.

I wanted to win. I didn’t want to make one wrong move. One wrong move that could’ve been my last.


Just a normal person finding just happiness.

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